If you're like me, you haven't changed out of your Jonas Jerebko t-shirt since the news broke that he has a torn achilles and will most likely miss the rest of the season. My t-shirt is going to smell rotten by April.
But Keith Langlois is here to remind us of a former blue collared Piston, Don Reid, who experienced a similar, no, a much more serious achilles injury and was back working out on his own 3 1/2 months later.
Here's the run down:
Reid’s injury was much more serious. While Jerebko’s Achilles was only partially torn – which makes the surgery and the rehabilitation less severe – Reid’s was completely torn. And torn in two places. Technology has made the surgery less invasive. What used to require a 7- or 8-inch incision can now be accomplished with a cut of an inch or less, perhaps. The ability to gauge the "tension force" – effectively, how far to stretch the Achilles to reattach it – has been markedly improved. Advances in rehabilitation have been even more remarkable. So much more is known than a decade ago. Movement is encouraged much earlier in the process, and that movement brings oxygen to the tendon, which prevents deterioration. The injury used to be casted for six weeks – then often recasted, with the foot at a different angle, for another six weeks. Essentially, that meant three months with little or no movement at all, forcing a much longer rehabilitation and recovery.
The article, of course, leaves out the fact that Don Reid, who also injured his achilles in an October game against Miami, returned to the court (which is really all we, as fans, care about) 5 1/2 months later for the Pistons season finale. He played 10 minutes and hasn't played a minute since. So, a player who logged over 5,000 minutes in 9 seasons only played 10 after his achilles injury. That was conveniently left out out of the punch bowl.
Loooook, I know I'm being Buzz Killington, but the timetable for his return isn't a random drawing. Sure, it's case-by-case, but there's a lot of freaking science that goes into these diagnoses. Let's not get our hopes up because of Don Reid and a fancy spin by Keith Langlois. Don Reid at his best was only half the player Jerebko was last season. He needed to come back as soon as possible before he was forgotten. The same isn't true for Jerebko.
I think anybody who saw him play last season knows that Jerebko will look at his rehab with the same "I must break you" mentality that he exudes when he steps onto the court. But I think it might be more encouraging to see him return after a normal 5-6 month rehab stint with Mr. Kander than seeing him miraculously return in 3-4 months to what will be, in all likelihood, meaningless games. I'd just feel a little more confident he's 100% healthy. I don't know, maybe the stench from my shirt has effectively reached my brain.