A torn ACL used to be the end of a career as fans knew it, but in the last 5 years, a major change to the surgery following an ACL injury has players coming back stronger. Before this innovation was brought about an ACL tear was treated much like fusing two wires together then using staples or stitches to reinforce it, this is much like trying to tie together a rubber band after you had stretched it to its breaking point. Now they take an ACL from the knee of an organ donor meaning that you have a fully functional ACL it will just need to attach itself to your knee. This is much better because now you don’t have to fix a break just have to reattach.
Most recent people who have gone through this process is AP (8), Gronk (10) and Todd Gurley (9). The number listed next to each player is the number of months they were out before facing in game action. All three have gone on to be very successful and did not lose any explosive ability and if you look at Gronk one could argue he has become a better player since. This idea should be attributed to the intense rehab you have to go, though. It can actually help to increase a player's overall athleticism because it trains your whole body in different ways that more evenly increase your overall leg strength.
Now let's turn this to Kelvin. His injury happened in camp, so if he waits until the season starts he will be 13 months removed from his injury. That would be three months more of rehabbing than any of the other players on the list and he is the same caliber of athlete as these other three. He knows he has to work on his conditioning and has made it clear he knows that and he is working hard in attempts to get there. It seems he has come into camp in better shape than he did last year and he is well on the right track to a monster season!
The biggest reason I think that we have no reason to worry is the injury and how it happened. It happened on a deep cut and he has clearing been doing that all through OTAs. A lot of knee injuries of this nature happen on bad tackles and that would make people gun shy to face in game action where people are trying to pull you down. Also, when this happened you more than likely tear your MCL and PCL which is harder to rehab because now you have to deal with three torn ligaments and walking becomes impossible.
Kelvin is on the right track to come back for the season start and also looks almost like he is better than ever and that will be a huge thing for Cam. Now recently Kelvin himself has answered the questions about the idea of a knee brace, he said it has been recommended but he feels it is not needed, every person has different feelings about the idea of a knee brace and him not using one may be just out of the fact that he is just running and not taking on contact. I would feel better if he wore a soft stabilizing brace much like one worn on the ankles of basketball players. This will not slow him down and actually can prove to be very helpful, but that is up to him no one feels what he feels and knows what he is thinking when he makes cuts but as we see in videos from camp the type of movement that caused this injury is something he is doing quite often and with confidence. Him running sideline to sideline sprints is a huge thing for Panthers fans because he clearly trusts his knee and is far more concerned with his conditioning rather than his knee. So let us collectively take a deep breath because it looks like we will be getting back a more well-rounded and hungry Kelvin who will look to be the difference this year!
AKA The Pope
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