Happy September, everyone! As I was switching the calendar over on Tuesday, it was such a good feeling to be able to write NYJ, @MIA, LAR in the Sunday blocks for the 13th, 20th, and 27th blocks respectively. It’s been a long year and a very disappointing one to put it lightly. Starting 2020 with a Wildcard loss and then being hit with a pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. Hopefully, the end of 2020 will be much better! Now, onto the blog!
On August 20th, multiple reporters tweeted out that Bills CB Josh Norman left practice early after suffering a lower-body injury. At the time, Norman never left the field and stayed on the sideline with his helmet off after being looked at by the training staff, which is usually a positive sign. However, fans were informed that Norman injured his left hamstring and that his timetable remained uncertain. On the 24th, coach McDermott stated that the team remained uncertain of his timeline but that “next five days will be critical” for him. Well, here we are in the first week of September and still no update on Norman. Norman has still yet to return to practice, and as each day goes by, it’s more worrisome.
Let me say this: soft tissue injuries scare me when it comes to my football team. While I am writing this blog, the severity of the injury still hasn’t been released, which is vital information to know moving forward and knowing what his treatment/rehab and timeline to return look like. What we do know is that this injury has the potential to linger for weeks or months, which is unfortunate news for a CB fighting for the #2 spot and the success of the secondary. We all know Norman disappointed during his time in Washington, but we also know he was in the wrong system and not in a position to succeed or play to his strengths. Because of this, I was very intrigued to see what he would look like in his return to the scheme he fits best in along with his old defensive coordinator.
The Hamstring and Types of Injury
The hamstring is a group of three muscles that run along the back of the thigh and allow the leg to extend straight back as well as bending the knee. When a hamstring injury occurs, it can either be a “pull” or a “tear” (either partial or complete). A strain or pull is when one or more muscles are stretched too far, which can cause small tears in the muscle. A complete tear is obviously the most severe, and the tendon is separated completely from the bone, requiring surgical intervention to reattach the muscle. Strains/pulls or partial tears typically do not require any form of surgery and are treated with the old-fashioned RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation).
Generic Timelines for Return
Again, as I always say, everyone’s body is different, and we all heal differently from each other. Every time someone is given a time frame to return from an injury, it’s always a generic timeline based on average. Here are the average expected return times for each type of hamstring injury:
Grade 1 (mild strain)- 1-3 weeks
Grade 2 (partial muscle tear)- 4-8 weeks
Grade 3 (complete tear/avulsion)- 3-6 months after surgical intervention
How to Handle This Information
At this point, there’s no reason to believe Norman suffered a complete tear, as he most likely would have gone under the knife already. For Norman, it is a waiting game right now. Handling this injury is frustrating for both the team and Norman. However, it is important Norman and the team do not rush him back. Professional athletes are competitive and hungry to be on the field and I’m sure Norman wants to be back on the field already.
However, if he returns too soon, he is at very high risk for further injuring the hamstring and missing significant time. I don’t know if any of you reading this blog have dealt with a hamstring injury, but it hurts and it lingers. Josh Norman will be focusing on treatment of the hamstring with consistent RICE, stretching, and range of motion exercises with the training staff. While simple pulls or strains and partial tears are not considered severe, it’s the lingering effects and limited mobility that are worrisome. As long as Norman isn’t rushed back to action and returns only when fully healthy, he should be ready to roll for a good chunk of the season.
Here is a picture courtesy of Action PT and Rehab to help visualize the different types of hamstring injuries
Stay safe and wear a mask everyone!