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Texas Longhorns RB Johnathan Gray Recovery News - Will he be ready?

Sowing irresponsible optimism because I can.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It felt like it was coming together for Johnathan Gray in the West Virginia game.  He was making great cuts early on, cruising along at 7 yards a carry (8-56) and seemed well on his way to a 150+ yard rushing day until...


Season over.  To an injury more feared than its namesake.  Achilles.

Projecting comebacks from an Achilles injury is nearly impossible.  Some athletes are never the same, others return on schedule but as a shadow of themselves, some bounce back effectively without missing a beat.  Centrifuges in Germany are making the latter outcome increasingly common.

Gray will certainly be back.  But at 100%?  80%?  70%?  Will he be able to do this?

We need a RB who can do that.  Malcolm Brown came up big last year, but a game breaker he is not.  Our offense needs versatility and the Brown/Bergeron effect on a defense is largely duplicative.  Daje Johnson is so deep in the doghouse that he takes Heartgard pills dipped in peanut butter.  Gray makes this offense better - slashing on inside zone, out of the backfield catching passes and serving as a high character team leader.

Did you know that there's a publication called Lower Extremity Review Magazine?  Of course you did.  Surprisingly, it's not pornography.

Their research is sobering:

Of the 31 players who sustained an Achilles tendon rupture, 21 (64%) returned to play in the NFL at an average of 11 months after injury. In the three seasons following their return, those 21 players saw significant decreases in games played and power ratings compared to the three seasons preceding the injury.

The percentage of players returning to play at the NFL level is consistent with a meta-analysis performed by Bhandari4 in 2002. The authors reported return to function rates of 63% for patients treated nonoperatively and 71% for those treated operatively. This difference could be attributed to the excessive demands placed on the operatively repaired Achilles tendon in NFL players combined with a body size, strength, and explosiveness that would further increase these demands.

The length of time to allow full activity after Achilles tendon repair is generally thought to be four to six months.4-6 The 11 months needed to return to play as a professional football player seems considerably longer. However, there is a major difference between allowing full activity and returning to play in the NFL. Even when the typical patient is allowed to participate in full activity, it does not mean that he or she is adequately rehabilitated to perform at maximal efforts.

So please keep the above in mind when I tell you that Johnathan Gray has been a full participant in summer 7 on 7 workouts.

Sprinting, cutting, jumping, catching.  Full speed.  Looking good.  Fast, quick, decisive.  Clean, crisp routes etc.

Do with that information what thou will.