A recent study from the American Journal of Orthopedics paints an uncertain picture for the return of Desmond Bishop from a ruptured hamstring tendon suffered last August.
Bishop, 28, was released by the Green Bay Packers Monday in a move cited for both medical reasons and numbers at the position. The former starting inside linebacker had been unable to participate in any of the Packers offseason workouts, including OTAs and mandatory minicamps, and the Packers also re-signed Brad Jones to a three-year, $11.75 million deal in March.
However, the recent history of ruptured hamstrings (where the tendon is torn off the pelvic bone and must be surgically reattached) in the NFL offers no clear answer on what kind of player Bishop will be now or long-term.
The June 2013 study from the American Journal of Orthopedics looked at 10 confirmed cases of ruptured hamstrings in the NFL from 1990 to 2008.
While nine of the 10 players in the study returned to play the next season, only five of the 10 played more than one game following the injury.
In addition, two of the 10 players returned and had major injuries occur to the same leg. One suffered a torn Achilles tendon and another re-ruptured the same hamstring (the player was a linebacker). On this note, it is worth noting that Bishop has already been dealing with a strain in the same hamstring he injured in August.
In its conclusion, the study found hamstring ruptures to be more rare and severe than typical hamstring injuries, such as a strain of the muscle fibers. It also concluded that the low long-term success percentage was indicative of the injury being a "marker for elite-level physical deterioration."
This information may make it more clear for why the Packers were so willing to release a former starter in June, and why the team jumped on giving Jones starter's money during free agency.
Keep in mind, the Packers would be on the hook for all $3.464 million of Bishop's 2012 base salary if he would have re-injured the hamstring. Instead of risking that financial commitment, the Packers decided to start life with Jones and A.J. Hawk in the middle of their 3-4 defense now instead of later.
Uncertainty is high regarding Bishop's return from a very severe hamstring injury. The Packers obviously didn't feel it necessary to roll the dice and risk a re-injury.
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