The injury bug just bit the LA Rams – and it chomped down hard on both the team’s leading rusher from last season and possibly this team’s Super Bowl chances, as the news broke on Wednesday that Cam Akers has torn his Achilles while training and will miss the entire 2021 season.
The news was first reported late Tuesday by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. If there is anything optimistic to say about the situation, however, it’s that Akers is expected to be back for the 2022 campaign. Well, let’s be glowingly optimistic here. Matthew Stafford had not had much run support with the Detroit Lions. Now, it appears as though the LA Rams will offer a similar pass-centric sort of offense.
The Achilles Tendon is hands down, the strongest tendon in the human body. It’s the cable-like tendon you can feel at the back of your ankle, and it’s the cord that enables us to walk, run, climb stairs, and well, ambulate and get around to do all of the things that we need to do every day. Sometimes, it is referred to as the heel cord. In medical terminology, it’s called the calcaneal tendon, and it’s the thickest in the human body. It connects two separate muscles – the Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles – to the Calcaneus bone (heel bone). These muscles, acting via the tendon, cause or allow plantar flexion of the foot at the ankle joint, and flexion at the knee.
Although the Achilles may be the strongest tendon in the body, it is also the tendon most commonly torn or ruptured. Not all Achilles injuries are the same, however. If the tear is high enough, it will occur near muscle tissue where the blood flow is rich with oxygen and nutrients crucial for the healing process. If low, the circulation is not great and can take much longer to repair.
It’s kinda the cable that holds the foot and the ankle all together and makes everything work smoothly and flex.
For an NFL running back, it is one of the worst possible injuries to suffer because it’s central to both ankle and toe movement for running. There’s this area of the Achilles that has a region about 4-6 cm’s from where it attaches to the heel bone, where blood flow is decreased. This area is called the ‘watershed’ region and is where most tears and ruptures occur.
After surgery to repair the tear, recovery may take four to eight weeks or longer depending on the severity. After any type of Achilles tendon tear surgery, you will likely wear a cast or walking boot, for six to 12 weeks. Then and only then will physical therapy start to rebuild strength in that leg. Simultaneously, some behavioral health therapy may be necessary to enable Cam Akers to trust his leg once more.
For an NFL running back, it almost always spells a season away from the gridiron to rehab the injury. For a running back, who depends so heavily on their ability to make quick cuts and bursts, it can be a career-threatening ending injury.
More details about the severity of Akers’s injury are expected to emerge shortly. But for now, the news is all brutally bad for Rams fans.