Eric Dickerson beware: Adrian Peterson’s doctor says he could be even better in 2013. Peterson should not be used as a measuring stick for other athletes who undergo major reconstructive knee surgery. If any other NFL running back returns to the field less than one year after tearing his ACL and proceeds to rush for over 2,000 yards, we should all be shocked. It just doesn’t happen. Just ask world-renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
Andrews, who repaired Peterson’s knee last December, said the first year an athlete returns after an injury like the one Peterson suffered is usually “a wash.”
“I say an athlete after (an) ACL (tear) is much better the second year back than the first year back,” he told the Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer Press. “First year back is a wash. It hasn’t been a wash for him, obviously. After 24 months, (an athlete is) a lot more mature and confident. Who knows? Adrian may be better next year than this year.”
Better next year would mean breaking Dickerson’s NFL single-season rushing record, considering A.P. fell just nine yards short of doing so this season. Andrews said Peterson has “defied all odds” and called him a natural athlete like Bo Jackson. He also said coming back the way A.P. did is unheard of — especially for a running back.
“Running backs don’t come back within the first year like that in the NFL,” Andrews explained. “They may come back and play a little bit. They don’t do what he did. Nobody’s ever done that if you look at the statistics of players returning to the NFL. We did a study. Running backs are the hardest to get back, period.”
And, of course, Andrews was asked if he feels that Dickerson’s record of 2,105 yards is in danger.
“Oh, hell, yeah,” he replied.
Peterson recently expressed confidence that he can still break Dickerson’s record before his career comes to a close. We’re certainly not going to sit here and doubt him.
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