Theo ruptured his ACL—out for six months

Here is a devastating announcement posted at the team-site. In brief, Theo has ruptured his ACL, an injury that will require surgery and keep him out of action for six months. He won’t be back in Arsenal red for the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign and will also miss the World Cup in Brazil.

This is the same kind of injury that derailed Abou Diaby’s comeback and used to be the kind of injury that ended careers. For what it’s worth, it ended mine, not that I was ever any good. I tore my ACL, MCL, and meniscus playing football back in April 2013 and may never play football again. Then again, I’m a bush-leaguer about to enter my fourth decade on this planet.

For a player like Theo, young, quite good, and making a career of the game, the generic prognosis is much better than it ever was. I remember when the American basketballer blew out his knee in 1985. He had surgery and came back for a few years of decent basketball, but it was clear that he had lost his speed and leaping abilities. He was never quite the player he was, and he retired in 1991. Fast-forward almost thirty years, and the progress made in repairing and rehabilitating such injuries has grown, if you’ll pardon the pun, by leaps and bounds. Instead of a torn ACL symbolizing the impending close to a once-promising career, there are plenty of success-stories to suggest that Theo will be back, just as good as he was before the injury. In fact, some players claim, with evidence, that they are faster, stronger, better than before.

For example, American football’s Adrian Peterson, who tore his ACL in 2011 but came back for the 2012-13 to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award. He improved his yards-per-carry average from 4.8 over the previous five seasons to 6.5 while rushing for more than 2,000 yards for the first time in his career. Other examples abound. The point is that, as devastating as this injury is for Walcott in the short term, it need not spell the end of his career.

And this is where my experience having torn my ACL comes into play, not that I’m any kind of expert. The ACL cannot heal itself and, once torn, must be replaced entirely. High-profile athletes frequently get a patellar graft, meaning that surgeons borrow a bit of the patellar tendon from the other knee. It’s more-aggressive than other options but leads to greater strength and resilience in the long run. Schlubs like yours truly usually get a graft from their own hamstring ligament or—gasp—a cadaver, methods that promise a quicker recovery by somewhat diminished performance. The surgeon who worked on my knee said that, in the early 1980s, they didn’t even know what the ACL was or how to detect a rupture, much less treat it. Treatment back then consisted, in his words, of a bottle of aspirin, a pair of crutches, and stern advice to rest it until the pain stopped. They’ve made a lot of progress since then. It’s sad to see Theo go down after such a promising return from the earlier injuries, but it’s likely we’ll see him come back for the 2014-15 campaign fresh, vigorous, free of the various other niggling injuries that accumulate, and perhaps even a step or two quicker than he already is.

In the meantime, I now regret my tongue-in-cheek piece from yesterday in which I suggested that Theo, Giroud, and Bendtner feign injury in order to convince Arsene to bring in a new player or two. That suggestion, now shorn of its humor, takes on added significance, if not urgency. In the meantime, let’s wish Theo a speedy recovery!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

6 thoughts on “Theo ruptured his ACL—out for six months

  1. Anonymous

    It's horrible news for individual, club and country. For all that he attracts criticism, Theo is a weapon thanks to his lightning speed (and decent technique). From the club's perspective, however, there is still much to remain positive about: the selection of wide players will now be Cazorla, Ozil, Gnabry and the returning Oxlade. That's a lot of talent – and in the former two, at least, a lot of experience. We can still do it (for Theo!)

  2. Anonymous

    he was doing so well on his return! five goals in five matches, he's definitely going to be missed. I hope this doesn't put pressure on Oxlade-Chamberlain to rush his return. Even if our midfield is an area of relative depth, we can't press him into action too soon and risk re-aggravating his knee injury. bring in some players, Arsene!

  3. Anonymous

    do it for theo indeed! i was looking to him to make this a break-out season and it looked like the second half was going to be his time to shine. heart-breaker! it didn't even look serious from the replay, or his attitude getting carried off!

  4. Anonymous

    JonAdrian Peterson is possibly the greatest exception to the rule as to recovery from ACL, MCL, etc. How he came back as quickly and as well is a medical miracle and his work this year was not up to that level.A lot may depend on how badly Theo tore the ACL although I suspect, despite the fact that he showed little pain when it happened, it is a complete tear. Maybe the noise from the Spud fans drowned uot the “snap” but he should have known right away and I am surprised it took several days to confirm (don't they do an MRI immediately even in the UK?)Whether he may or may not have ever achieved the potential some have anticipated, I tend to believe that Arsene has little choice now but to spend far more than planned to get another striker now, hopefully one who can play in the CL and then, if this one is an interim solution with the better options not availalbe until summer, to spend big-time and get someone to either supplement or supplant Giroud.While Olivier is good and has shown why they got him, he cannot survive the season alone as the only true striker option who can play with back to goal. Not sure wsho is out there besides Berbatov and some other older players but they , hopefully, are already on the phone calling around. If not, I suspect we may not make it past another round of CL and cannot hold out in BPL against the onslought of ManCity and Chelsea


Leave a Reply