This time a year ago, I was writing about all the remarkable comebacks that had occurred in 2012: the Colts and Chuck Pagano, the Broncos and Peyton Manning, and the Vikings and Adrian Peterson.
Based on Peterson’s performance, I concluded, “The Bulls and Derrick Rose should be very encouraged.”
Then again, maybe not.
If 2012 was the “Year of the comeback,” then 2013 has been the “Year of the comebacks that weren’t.”
Rose lasted just 10 games returning from right knee ACL reconstruction before suffering a torn meniscus in the same knee last month, effectively ending his season.
Kobe Bryant didn’t last that long — six games, fracturing the tibial plateau in his left knee earlier this month, as he attempted to return from a torn left Achilles tendon. The Lakers claim their star will return in six weeks. I’ll believe it when I see it.
The ink for Kobe’s bad news headlines was barely dry when the Oklahoma City Thunder announced last week that point guard Russell Westbrook would need his third surgery since April on his right knee. Think the previous two comebacks were too quick?
The NBA was not alone fumbling recoveries.
The New York Yankees had a league’s worth all on their own: Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and T.F. South grad Curtis Granderson to name a few. However, their handling of Derek Jeter was most baffling of all.
While recovering from ankle reconstruction surgery, the shortstop was hurried back from a minor league rehab assignment in July — due to other Yankees injuries — only to immediately strain a quadriceps muscle. He was eventually cleared from that minor injury, but ultimately played in only 17 games before the Yankees shut him down in mid-September. At that time, they admitted a CT scan had revealed the ankle had never fully healed. Why wasn’t that CT scan done two months earlier?
Recoveries weren’t all that came up short in sports medicine this year.
In the wake of multiple head injuries to pitchers in the 2012 season, MLB promised protective head gear for pitchers by the start of this past season. Never happened.
The NFL thought it had reached a $765 million settlement in August with more than 4,000 retired players, who had sued alleging the league had mishandled concussions. However, the settlement has yet to be approved by the presiding federal judge in Philadelphia; a significant number of players are threatening to “opt out;” and other players, who were not party to the lawsuit in question, have since filed suit against the league and/or individual teams.
Active players confounded the NFL as well. The NFLPA agreed to a to-be-defined testing program for human growth hormone when the lockout ended in 2011. The league thought something was finally in place for the start of this season but the players balked again, just a week after the concussion settlement was announced. The players are insisting on a season-long pilot program first and are unhappy with the appeals process proposed by the league.
Consequently in 2014, the proliferation of 300-pound-plus players will continue while super-sized muscles routinely shred the tendons to which they are attached.