As the night goes on, there is more and more news to gather about Terry Wilson and the severity of his left knee injury. UK and Coach Stoops released a statement that explained Wilson’s torn patellar tendon and his season-ending surgery. Now, our friends with the Herald Leader have put together some very informative background information to help everyone understand the complexity of this injury.
Basically, it’s not great news.
The patellar is the knee cap, and the patellar tendon connects the knee cap with the tibia (shin bone). Once that tendon is torn, a person is unable to straighten their knee. It’s also a relatively-rare leg injury, with one incident report listing about 39,000 tears each year. That’s less than a third of the rate of ACL tears.
Here’s a picture I found from the Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle, for those of you who may be more visually-inclined.
Once the tendon is surgically repaired, it usually takes four to six weeks for the patient’s leg to be able to support their body weight again. Full rehab is listed at six to nine months.
This part is the most disappointing: the post-surgery recovery rate isn’t great, either. Here’s how the HL’s Josh Moore broke it down:
“[ESPN injury analyst and physical therapist Stephania Bell], citing a June 2016 study published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine, said that in a sample of more than 550 orthopedic procedures performed on NFL players, those who underwent patellar tendon repairs fared the worst when it came to performance metrics (yards gained, touchdowns, etc.) and rate of return. Their explosiveness and strength are the most difficult things to recover.
“And their careers were shortened overall significantly,” Bell said. “It’s not to say that one individual can’t come back and be phenomenal, but it’s telling you that the odds are against them in terms of returning to form.”
That’s tough news to hear. Don’t give up on Terry Wilson – there are plenty of athletes who have overcome such injuries. But it’s not going to be easy.
For more information on patellar-related injuries, including the process for the surgery and examples of athletes who have overcome the same injury (and an unfortunate list of a few who haven’t), check out the link below.