By Mike Preston
8:27 AM EDT, May 4, 2012
There has been a lot of speculation that Ravens Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs injured his Achilles tendon while playing basketball. Suggs has denied that it happened that way, but who cares? If that tendon was tight and going to tear, it made no difference if he was playing basketball, wrestling, practicing karate or running sprints.
I've known a lot of men who have ruptured their Achilles tendon, and some were just walking and it popped. I've been covering pro sports since 1987 and don't know of many 29-year-olds like Suggs who suffered the injury at such an early age. Former Ravens center-guard Wally Williams suffered the same injury, and he was simply stretching and doing some light jogging over at the training complex during an offseason.
Everyone knows Suggs loves basketball, but so do a lot of other players. The Ravens have an indoor basketball court at the Castle. Former Ravens receivers Michael Jackson, Derrick Alexander and Andre Rison loved to play basketball and at one time formed a team here during the offseason. It's a great way to stay in shape, and a lot of these players, especially those in the skill positions, played the sport in high school.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh may warn his players about playing other sports, but they're still going to do whatever they want unless there are stipulations in the contract, and those stipulations will be hard to get. Ray Rice played in a charity basketball game last month and had no injuries. But he was at risk, right? Ben Grubbs had a charity softball tournament last offseason. Wasn't he at risk, especially as a player with a history of ankle injuries?
You can't babysit these guys. Injuries happen all the time, some during the season and some out of season. The good news is that on Thursday, Suggs was already mentally strong and talking about his comeback. He vowed to play again this season. He usually makes good on his promises, and I'd be more concerned about his rehabilitation then how he injured his ankle. He said he wasn't playing basketball, and if he was, so what?
Basketball is good for training. As for the Achilles tendon, you could just as easily snap it walking up the stairs as playing basketball.
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