Darrelle Revis Injury Risk Factors in 2013 Comeback

Will CarrollSports Injuries Lead WriterJanuary 25, 2013

CORTLAND, NY - JULY 27:  Darrelle Revis #24 of the New York Jets works out at Jets Training Camp at SUNY Cortland on July 27, 2012 in Cortland, New York.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Darrelle Revis is currently rehabbing from ACL surgery performed in October. With the Jets "exploring" trades for their star cornerback, teams need to be very wary of Revis' physical status. While Revis will have plenty of time to rehab and recover by the time the 2013 season starts, there's a poor record of comebacks for cornerbacks.

News and updates regarding Revis' progress has been hard to come by. Since the surgery, performed by New York Giants team physician Russ Warren, Revis has made appearances at the Jets facility to work with the team's medical staff. Revis also performed his prehab at the team facility, according to Jane McManus of ESPN New York, working with a low-gravity treadmill to strengthen the muscles around the knee. He has been back to the facility post-surgery as well, though he is doing the bulk of his rehab off-site, likely closer to his offseason home.

At the three-month mark post-surgery, Revis should be walking without support and should be nearing the "advanced activity phase," according to the rehab protocols established by Kevin Wilk and Mike Reinold, two of the top physical therapists in sports medicine.

This phase would require him to be at 75 percent strength levels in the affected leg, as well as hitting several others focused goals. One of the key points, usually occurring in week 10 of the rehab, is the start of a light running program. This can occur as late as week 16 of the rehab without being considered behind schedule. (This week would be week 15, with week 16 ending as the calendar flips to February.) 

Calls to the Jets and to Darrelle Revis' agent were not returned, so it is impossible to know exactly where Revis is in the process, especially with no reports regarding his current level in rehab. As teams look to assess his value, they will want to see post-surgical reports, rehab progress reports and likely will need to have their own medical personnel observe Revis to judge his progress for themselves.

Revis should have plenty of time—almost ten months before the start of the 2013 season—to regain full health and strength in the injured knee. The rehab protocol ends at the six month mark, assuming all goes well and there are no significant setbacks. At that point, Revis would shift to sport-specific activities and conditioning.

Cover corners like Revis engage in stressful physical action—even more so than running backs like Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles—with the demands of their position forcing them to backpedal and rotate while on the run.

In fact, there are some very good corners who were never able to come back to their previous level following similar knee injuries, such as Al Harris (who, while trying to come back from an injury to one knee, tore the ACL in his other) and Dominique Foxworth. Neither was able to hold their starting position after the injury and subsequent surgery.

More recently, New York Giants corner Terrell Thomas has not been able to return to the field. He has needed three surgeries on his knee due to setbacks, though he does hope to return in 2013. Thomas originally tore the ACL in college, then re-tore it in 2011. 

Revis will not need to do these position-specific activities until July, so this should not be an issue. Once he starts this process, teams will be watching closely. Revis does have a clean injury history, with no significant setbacks in the pros or college more significant than a hamstring strain that cost him a couple weeks during the 2010 season.

There may be cause for concern, but as yet, we have no reason to believe that Revis Island is now any more hospitable to opposing receivers, even if there may be a for sale sign up.