USA Today's For The Win, "Victor Cruz's leg injury, as explained by a medical expert"

Published October 13, 2014

Victor Cruz's leg injury, as explained by a medical expert

By: Nina Mandell

Victor Cruz was carted off the field on Sunday during the Giants’ loss to the Eagles after tearing hispatellar tendon which connects the knee cap to the shin bone. So what does the injury mean for Cruz’s career and the Giants future? For The Win spoke to an expert to find out.

What does he have to do to recover from that injury?

A rupture of the patellar tendon requires “extensive recovery and rehabilitation,” said Dr. Barry Boden, a sports medicine surgeon at the The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics. “When you rupture your patellar tendon the treatment is surgical repair. While the surgery only takes an hour or so, it takes a good six months to recover.

“It takes the tendon awhile to heal back to the bone where it tore and there are tremendous stresses from the tendon. When you are jumping and running you can have 10 times your body weight going through the tendon.

“It takes awhile to regain muscle strength, coordination and agility so you’re talking about a surgery that takes a minimum six to 12 months to recover. If that’s the injury that he truly has, I don’t see him returning to play this year.”

 Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

What generally causes this injury?

“There could have been some pre-existing overuse changes but most of the time it’s just a traumatic event,” Boden said. Usually the injury is seen in middle-aged patients with pre-existing factors but for patients like Cruz “usually it just takes a very high force incident to tear the tendon,” he said. Examples of high-force incidents happen throughout football games.

Can Cruz make a full recovery or will he always have lingering effects from this injury?

Yes — though it will take time and Cruz might not be 100% his first time back on the field. “This is something that they can usually make a full recovery with proper rehab … he should be able to make a full recovery,” Boden said.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

What’s involved in the rehab?

To regain his agility and full range of movement, Cruz may do “a variety of different drills,” said Boden, “whether it’s running through the ladder on the floor, jumping doing single leg hops, exercises to make his quadriceps stronger and drills that can be done with a ball because that increases the neuromuscular response and coordination.”