It was alarming to learn that Eagles offensive tackle Jason Peters had suffered an Achilles' tendon reinjury and had to undergo a second surgery recently, but most people around the team never thought Peters was going to make it back to play effectively this year, anyway. The big question the second surgery raises is whether Peters will recover completely, say, by next year, or ever, given the seriousness of an Achilles' tear.
Will this change the outlook?
"Not necessarily," said Dr. Steven Cohen of Philadelphia's Rothman Institute. Cohen is an orthopaedic surgeon who works in sports medicine. "It depends on where the tear is. Whether it's retorn from the same area, whether it's in a different area. It can retear in the same area...or it can retear in an area that's weaker, slightly above or below the (repaired) area of the tendon... If it was in a different area, then it's similar to just a primary repair, and he's just now a few months behind where he was because of a new injury."
Cohen cautioned, of course, that he is not involved in Peters' care and doesn't know many specifics. He said if Peters reinjured the original site, that opens the possibility of "gapping," in which there wouldn't be enough material to make another sturdy repair, and muscle or tendon from elsewhere would have to be grafted onto the tear. That would be a complicating factor, but once everything heals, "there's no reason you wouldn't be able to play," Cohen said.
Cohen said somewhere around 1 to 5 percent of the people who tear an Achilles' experience another tear while rehabbing. According to Comcast SportsNet.com, Peters suffered the reinjury when the Roll-A-Bout scooter he was riding at home collapsed and he fell. The scooters, which look like a stool outfitted with wheels and a retaining bar in front to keep the leg from sliding off, are often used in such cases now in lieu of crutches. The ComcastSportsNet.com story said Peters intends to sue the Roll-A-Bout manufacturer.
'That's certainly feasible, given his size," Cohen said, asked about the cart-collapse scenario. Peters usually weighs in the 340 range. The carts supposedly will support about 500 pounds; it would be possible for a 340-pounder to exert 500 pounds of force on the cart. "Certainly any issue with a fall can reinjure that area," Cohen said.
The Eagles signed free agent Demetress Bell from Buffalo to take Peters' place this season, but that is a tall order, given that Peters was among the top two or three left tackles in the NFL last year, and was an excellent fit for the scheme of offensive line coach Howard Mudd. Very few o-linemean offer the size and speed of Peters, who entered the league as a tight end.