As Terrell Suggs attempts to come back after successful surgery to repair his partially torn right Achilles tendon, there remains scrutiny over how the Ravens’ outside linebacker sustained the injury in the first place.
Two days after Suggs told my colleague Mike Preston that he is "going to shock a lot of people" with a healthy return from the injury sometime during the regular season, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported again that Suggs was injured in late April while playing basketball in Arizona, something Suggs had strongly denied to us. Schefter had two employees of the gym in Arizona saying on the record that Suggs was injured playing in a tournament.
Suggs was quoted in the report as saying that it was untrue and that he was injured during a conditioning test.
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Schefter’s report isn’t really surprising, and if it does turn out to be accurate, it won’t really change anything.
If Suggs were to admit that he was indeed playing basketball when he got injured, there probably wouldn’t be any ramifications. There was speculation that the Ravens could go after his salary, but they aren’t likely to do so, as outlined in a recent post from my colleague Jeff Zrebiec. And as Suggs told Preston, the Ravens haven’t broached the possibility with him. “That’s just petty gossip,” the 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year said.
Suggs does have a history of playing basketball as a way to stay in shape in the offseason, something that he and his teammates are not forbidden to do (remember Torrey Smith’s charity basketball game?). Suggs played basketball four or five times a week in a semi-pro league in Arizona last offseason, and those workouts helped him shed pounds in recent offseasons. He even spoke with Preston a year ago about the potential for injury while playing.
"I don't try to Dwight Howard the ball. I don't try to bring the rim down every play. I know my limitations, and know when to tone it down,” said Suggs, who gave himself the nickname “LeTron James.”
If Suggs changes his tune about the origin of his injury, he should only be criticized for lying. The guy was ripped for being out of shape after getting his big contract in 2009. He responded by using basketball as a way to stay in shape the past two offseasons and made back-to-back Pro Bowls for the first time.
It would be hypocritical to hammer him for getting hurt while working out away from the team, no matter how he did it.