Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Feb 2011

Demaryius Thomas Ruptures Achilles

Yet another Broncos player has suffered an injury outside of a game; 2009 first-round pick Demaryius Thomas has apparently ruptured his Achilles tendon and will be out for six months.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 10 Feb 2011

29 comments, Last at 29 Dec 2012, 6:07am by bankruptcy information


by Shattenjager :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 12:51am

And here come the McDaniels rants . . .

by loneweasel (not verified) :: Sun, 02/13/2011 - 1:56pm

Brandon Marshall's collection of voodoo dolls certainly is working.

by slipknottin :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 1:50am

6 months? In all likelihood that's the end of his career

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 7:26am

He was a first round draft pick. He was the first WR taken, even before Dez Bryant--the Broncos have a lot invested in him. He'll play again after he recovers.

I have been hoping the Broncos trade Kyle Orton and Eddie Royal to the Redskins. I'm afraid this makes it even less likely for that to happen.

by Shattenjager :: Sat, 02/12/2011 - 4:40am

A 23-year-old who was drafted 22nd overall all of 10 months ago is "in all likelihood" done for his career because of an injury that might make him miss a couple of preseason games?

EDIT: I see from slipknottin's later post that I misunderstood the original post. I thought slipknottin meant that Thomas being out six months was likely the end of his career, but I see that slipknottin meant that rather than six months, the injury is likely career-ending. While saying that it is "in all likelihood" the end of his career still appears to me to be an overstatement, but it's not crazy, as I originally thought it was. Apologies, slipknottin.

By the way, one nitpick: I just noticed that the blurb underneath the title link calls Thomas a "2009 first-round pick" when he was in fact a 2010 first-round pick.

by Noah Arkadia :: Sun, 02/13/2011 - 12:40am

In any case, this kind of injury is one of the worst an athlete can have. I'm not sure how likely a 100% recovery is, but not 100% certain.

Edit: according to a post below, it's about 65%.

by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 02/13/2011 - 2:10am

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by the silent speaker (not verified) :: Mon, 02/14/2011 - 1:57pm

yes, but 48% of statys are 83% abloney and 36% ham.

83+36=119. So 48% of stats are 19% abalone-pig perversion of nature, right?

by Sophandros :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 11:51am

No, it doesn't. In 1960, sure a ruptured Achilles was a career ender. In 2011, we have a bit more medical knowledge. A number of professional athletes have ruptured their Achilles, had surgery, and then played at a high level.

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 12:36pm

It's not just the ruptured achilles, though. Since leaving college, Thomas has fractured a foot, torn scar tissue in said foot after rehabbing that injury and returning to practice, missed five weeks with a sprained ankle and now this. Maybe it's just bad luck, but at this point there has to be a suspicion that he will never be able to stay healthy. He's not Bennie Joppru yet, but he kinda seems like he might be headed that way. He'll be on a roster for another couple of years, though, no doubt about that.

by An Onimous (not verified) :: Mon, 02/14/2011 - 5:08am

I suspect it's neither bad luck nor an inability to stay healthy. I suspect this is a textbook case of cascade injuries. First, Thomas fractured his foot. Then Thomas tore scar tissue by trying too return too quickly from his fractured foot. Then Thomas sprained his ankle while in all likelihood compensating in his gait for the fact that he returned too quickly from fracturing his foot. All three individual injuries can trace their roots back to the fractured foot and the decisions to try to return before he was ready. The article doesn't say how he ruptured his Achilles- it's very possible that the Achilles was also a cascade injury caused by Thomas compensating for his foot and his ankle. In which case, the Achilles might actually prove to be a blessing in disguise, because it gets him off his feet long enough for the root of all his injuries (the fractured foot) to heal up properly.

Assuming, of course, that Thomas can come back from the ruptured Achilles, and that he doesn't rush himself back from this one, too.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 02/14/2011 - 6:04pm

Could be, though there was a fair old gap between Thomas returning from the torn scar tissue and missing time due to the ankle. He was listed as Questionable (foot) for Week 1, Probable (foot) for Week 2, then doesn't appear on the injury report again until Week 6, when he was Questionable (concussion). The ankle injury occurred at some point in the Week 11 game against the Chargers - I don't know whether from contact or not. I understand the principle of cascade injuries, but I'm not sure that's what's happened here.

by An Onimous (not verified) :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 6:45am

There's a difference between "healthy enough to play" and "healthy enough to play without altering any biomechanics". Lots of injuries that don't land a player on the injury report are still more than sufficient to cascade. An injury that is uncomfortable but which has no chance of worsening might as well not even be an injury as far as the injury report is concerned, but that lingering pain is all it takes for an athlete to shift a little bit of his weight from his injured foot to his uninjured one.

Obviously no one knows whether the sprained ankle was a cascade injury except for whatever medical professionals have been working with Thomas, I'm just saying, don't let the fact that he wasn't on the injury report fool you into thinking that he wasn't still compensating for the injury.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 02/15/2011 - 1:21pm

Sure, it's possible. I've really no idea what the healing process is like for torn scar tissue, though three months does seem like quite a long time.

by slipknottin :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 7:52pm

The giants just went through it with their rookie HB Andre Brown. Ruptured his Achilles his rookie year in preseason, has been floating around teams trying to find a job. Never got his burst back.

The Broncos may stick with him, but I find it very unlikely he will ever have the speed and burst he once did, essentially a career ender for a WR.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 02/14/2011 - 8:27pm

Were any of that "a number of professinal athletes" also deep threat receivers with a laundry list of other foot-related injuries? No, there is no law that requires his career to be over from this injury, but it's a significant hurdle to overcome for a guy who even before this injury couldn't stay on the field.

by The Other Ben Johnson (not verified) :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 11:54am

You know who else is going to be out 6 months?

Every other NFL player.

by big_jgke :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 12:49pm

Boom! Roasted.

by andrew :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 11:55am

Good thing there will be no football activities for him to miss.

by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 1:25pm

Interesting to check this out. It's apparently a 36% chance a player will not come back from this injury in the modern NFL. That's probably skewed a bit, since older players like DT Kemoeatu are not as likely to go through the rehab.


by chrisM (not verified) :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 2:31pm

One more problem for him, though, is that almost certainly within a month he's going to be rehabbing on his own: without access to team doctors, therapists, etc. How is that going to affect his recovery time? I honestly have no idea, but it's another wild card floating over the young man's future.

by Keith (1) (not verified) :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 3:41pm

He can just as easily go to somewhere like the Andrews Institute in Pensacola and rehab as fast or faster than he could with team doctors and trainers.

by JasonK :: Sat, 02/12/2011 - 12:10am

Well, Demaryius can because he got a first-round-pick signing bonus. The 6th-rounder who finds himself in a similar situation can get... whatever treatment that his COBRA coverage will pay for.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 02/14/2011 - 8:31pm

I'd be extremely surprised if insurance coverage wasn't provided by the union or they weren't getting a stipend to pay for it themselves. If they're stockpiling money to help pay guys during the lockout they certainly would have insurance in mind.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 02/12/2011 - 2:03pm

what si all thehse shoe ads at FO? It semems these shoe people always come here duiring the offseaosn advertsing shoes. Sometimes they come during season but usuaully during offseaosn.

Supra Vaiders soumd like good shoe thoguh. Makes think of Super Raiders of 1976, 1980, and 1983 seaosns. An y shoe that make think of Raiders gerats is good shoe.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 02/12/2011 - 2:05pm

and baout thsi Broncos WR, yes bad news for D. Broncos. D. Thomas probably goignt o struggle to get back to what he once was as far as pseed concerned and quick burts. But has good sixe, so maybe can become a possession type recievcer. Little eaisier for QBV to come back from this injury )see D. Marino, V. tetsvaderde), but psoition that require speed and jumping and such is more difficult.

by Samson 151 (not verified) :: Sat, 02/12/2011 - 8:09pm

Ruptured Achilles is a bad one, all right, particularly for somebody who expects to retain that sudden burst that makes the difference between good and great. But there's no stigma attached to rehabbing away from Denver, and it's probably a smart move on his part.

The Broncs are a troubled franchise that's managed to find a way to be unlucky, too.

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