Christian McCaffrey made a name for being the most dangerous dual-threat running back in the NFL. He burst onto the scene in 2019, becoming only the 3rd player in NFL history to have 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards. He joined the likes of Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig. He was expected to be the next LaDanian Tomlinson, but he was ravaged by injuries his following two seasons with the Carolina Panthers. McCaffrey suffered a Grade 3 (high) ankle sprain in 2020, which sidelined him for 6 games. He had several injuries throughout the 2020 season, but everyone expected him to come back strong in his 2021 campaign. Unfortunately, McCaffrey’s injury bug stuck around in 2021 and he suffered and Grade 2 ankle sprain, which kept him sidelined the rest of the season.
Ankle sprains are one of the most recurrent lower limb injuries and up to 40% of ankle sprains go on to develop chronic symptoms. McCaffrey’s injury to the same ankle in 2021 could have been a coincidence or it may show that one of the best athlete’s in the world can’t evade the statistics.
Ankle sprains can be classified by the severity of injury (refer to below)
Stretch or partial tear of a ligament
Symptoms: Mild pain/swelling. No instability. No loss of function
Treatment: Rest, Ice, Physical therapy
Return to Activity: Approximately 2 weeks
Incomplete tear of ligament
Symptoms: Moderate pain/swelling. Bruising. Pain with weight bearing
Treatment: Rest, Ice, bracing/taping, Physical therapy
Return to Activity: Approximately 3-4 weeks
Complete tear of ligament
Symptoms: Severe swelling/bruising. Instability and loss of function
Treatment: Rest, Ice, Bracing/taping, Physical therapy, Surgery
Return to Activity: Approximately 6-10 weeks
Christian McCaffrey started his 2022 season healthy and ready to prove his doubters wrong. He was traded from the stinky Panthers to a Super Bowl contender, the 49ers. The trade put him on the national scene and has turned him into the favorite to win Comeback Player of the Year. Everyone is excited to see him play the next couple weeks and I wouldn’t count him out to be the Super Bowl MVP. First, they have to get past Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. For now, let’s watch some Christian McCaffrey highlights as a nice appetizer for our Divisional Round entrée!