I don't believe it. I really don't. People, even absurdly well conditioned professional athletes, just don't come back from Achilles tears. Or they didn't come back, anyway.
You probably remember when DeMeco Ryans tore his Achilles in October of 2010. You may not recall this excellent post by DreKeem (remember him?) discussing the grim reality of NFL players returning from Achilles injuries. Here's an excerpt:
I had/have limited knowledge on how threatening the injury is to the long term health of an athlete, so I did some research into the matter and came across an interesting and relevant article that cites studies of NFL athletes who have suffered the injury. For those of you too lazy to read a short article, here are a few points to take away from it.
According to the study, a whopping 32% of NFL players who have suffered the same or similar injury to Ryans' never played another down. That's pretty scary. However, I have no fear that Ryans will do everything in his power to be on the field in 2011 and will make it back. It's more of a gut feeling than anything else, because the statistics are pretty rough. Assuming he can step on the field again, the question then becomes how effective can he be when he does? This is what's extremely worrisome.
The study concludes that on average, NFL players suffer a 50% loss in what these orthopedic surgeons measured as a player's "power rating" after the injury. This rating was taken using the stats from both before and after the injury of the 31 NFL players who suffered the same injury as Meco from 1997 to 2002, also taking into account age, position, and years as a pro before the setback. What's even more depressing and daunting than the 50% average is that the power rating decline for linebackers in that time period was an unbelievable 95%. Ninety. Five. Crazy. There is slight hope, though. The study at this point in time isn't perfect. Even though it was released in late 2009, it doesn't taken into account the injury and its effect on players in the past eight years, so it doesn't factor in new technology and methods that might have come about to combat the problem.
That's not exactly cause for encouragement. But then Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles in May of 2012 and returned to play the Texans in October of 2012. He may not have been the same player he was before the injury (it stands to reason it would take awhile to get your conditioning back after an injury like that), but he played.
DeVier Posey suffered his own Achilles tear during the Texans' playoff loss in New England on January 13, 2013. I, like many others, immediately wrote off the thought of Posey playing at all in 2013. I hoped he'd be able to contribute in 2014; even then, I wasn't holding my breath. As DreKeem's research pointed out, Achilles tears are often a death knell for athletes.
Now there's word that Posey could be activated as soon as after Saturday night's preseason game against the Dolphins. From a wheelchair to the roster in a little over seven months. What the ...?
"It looks like we’re very close to pulling him off PUP after this game," Kubiak said after Wednesday morning’s practice. "Hopefully he’s back out here working next week."
Posey, as he’s done throughout OTA’s and training camp, worked on the side fields this morning. Kubiak said the last few days, the wideout from Ohio State has run "a lot of routes the last two days". At the conclusion of practice, he stuck to his same routine as well, catching passes from the JUGS machine with his teammates. He’s excited about how his rehab has gone, but said it’s within the six to nine month range he originally targeted.
"I dedicated everything to this injury and it’s changed my life, really," Posey said. "As far as just being here for those four months while everyone else was away, vacationing. I was here in the training room and I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel."
Tania Ganguli reports that Posey told Kubes he'd be ready for Week 1. From his wheelchair. In January. Ganguli quotes Posey as saying he "can almost dunk now."
What the ...?
Look, I still don't harbor any great expectations for Posey being a huge contributor to the Texans in 2013. Even after he's activated, it's going to take him time to get his wind back, and there's the issue of getting snaps at wide receiver, which is a taller order than it used to be before DeAndre Hopkins was drafted. Still, it's not like there are any sacred cows after Andre Johnson and Hopkins, so the opportunity could be there for Posey to force his way onto the field.
The fact that we're even discussing the realistic possibility of DeVier Posey playing at all this season, much less potentially being activated before training camp even breaks, is astounding. It's also a testament to his work ethic and the miracles of the modern rehabilitation process.
DeVier Posey, about to play football a mere seven months after suffering an Achilles tear. Amazing.