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As Vikings, Kirk Cousins focus on recovery, future, doctor offers insight into Achilles injuries

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​limped to the sideline during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, unable to put weight on his right foot. He was then dragged off the field.

Monday’s MRI revealed the Vikings’ biggest concern. Cousins ​​will likely miss the remainder of the season due to a torn Achilles tendon.

Kirk Cousins ​​of the Minnesota Vikings watches the first half of a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 29, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The state of Minnesota announced Wednesday that Cousins ​​underwent successful surgery at Twin City Orthopedics in Eagan, Minnesota.

Vikings trade Cardinals quarterback Josh Dobbs after season-ending injury to Kirk Cousins

“The thing that energized me was talking to Kirk. The way his mind works is very process-oriented, very intentional, going back to OTAs, doing different things, and whatever the schedule is going to be.” We were talking about,” Minnesota general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said Wednesday.

“And that’s how his mind worked, and that’s how my mind worked too.”

Cousins ​​is the latest NFL player to suffer that type of injury this season. Four-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon just four plays into his first week with the New York Jets.

Dr. Justin Greisberg, Director of Foot and Ankle Services at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, discusses common aspects of Achilles tendon injuries and the traditionally nine to 10 month recovery process on Fox News Digital told. one year.

“When it comes to the Achilles tendon, it’s a typical sports injury where it’s a sudden explosive injury or a complete rupture of the tendon, but whether you call it a tear or a rupture, they all refer to the same place. “It was literally sudden, violent, almost like an explosion. It’s not a cut. It’s literally a tendon bursting from the inside under all the force.”

Kirk Cousins ​​winces in pain

Kirk Cousins ​​of the Minnesota Vikings was injured during a play in the fourth quarter of a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin on October 29, 2023. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Kirk Cousins ​​throws two touchdown passes and Vikings beat Packers before going out with injury

Videos of Cousins ​​and Rodgers’ injuries circulating on social media show the tendon as described by Greisberg.

“If you watch some of these slow-motion replays, something very violent happens. On a technical level, the ankle is basically trying to go in one direction, while the person is pushing themselves in the opposite direction. And on a good day, when you walk, the force on your Achilles tendon exceeds your body weight.Now, when you run, jump, or try to propel yourself forward, the force on your Achilles tendon exceeds your body weight. It gets so big that it can overwhelm, if not the strongest tendon in our body.”

For high-performance patients, such as professional athletes, Achilles tendon recovery is complex, Greisberg said, and the goal is not only to heal the tendon, but to make sure it heals in a way that allows the patient to regain explosive strength. He said that. A healthy Achilles can do that.

“Every tendon in your body is its own unique tendon. You can’t make rules that apply to all tendons. Now, when it comes to the Achilles tendon, when you get injured, you actually try to heal it. And the challenge is to That’s right. “We don’t always just heal it. We heal it cleanly and firmly. Therefore, even if the Achilles tendon loosens a little and heals, the explosive power will not return.”

He continued, “So a year ago, five years ago, the tradition was one year. See you in a year. It might be nine months, but it’s been almost a year to get back to that level of explosiveness. When the Achilles tendon ruptures, the focus is, of course, on the tendon, which connects fleshy muscle to bone. As you may have seen in these videos, tendons rupture, fleshy muscles take a hit, and you can see some crazy things happen in slow-motion videos. ”

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​is helped off the field after going down with an injury in the fourth quarter of a game against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 29, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. . (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune, via AP)

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Greisberg said the recovery process can take time to get the gastrocnemius muscle, one of the two main muscles in the calf that the Achilles runs through, back to health.

“If you look at someone who’s had an Achilles tendon rupture a week or two later, they’ve lost muscle in their Achilles muscle (a muscle called the gastrocnemius), and it’s amazing how quickly that happens. Getting back is the most important thing.” “It’s a very long time. Part of that is due to the nature of the injury. That’s why no one has ever returned to football six weeks after injury with a ruptured Achilles tendon. The tradition is one year; Probably nine months, but definitely this season,” when it comes to seasonal sports like soccer and baseball. ”

Greisberg said that from his experience, there is “a lot of interest” in speeding recovery times for these injuries, but much of that depends on “surgical techniques” and rehabilitation resources. .

“There’s a lot of interest in trying to rehabilitate faster, and in some cases our surgical techniques can help start rehabilitation. And at the highest level of athletics, professional athletes Remember, there could be more than just one rehab, and probably more.” “You might not be alone, but a team of people whose job is to help you rehabilitate 24/7. On the other hand, the average person who is not a professional athlete can work with a therapist for an hour twice a week. And I think that’s part of what we do. The way is better surgical techniques and more aids for more aggressive and rapid rehabilitation. ”

Aaron Rodgers throws the ball

Aaron Rodgers of the New York Jets throws the ball before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on October 15, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

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Cousins’ injury forced the Vikings into action before Tuesday’s NFL deadline. Acquired quarterback Joshua Dobbs in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals. He will serve as a backup for rookie Jalen Hall in Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

The timing of the injury also coincided with Cousins’ contract expiring at the end of this season.

“I don’t think my ‘desire’ for Kirk to come back is just ‘me’. You know, this is a negotiation,” Adofo-Mensah said Wednesday. “Let’s get together at the table and see if everything works out. And when the time comes, we’ll have a dialogue.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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