Breaking Down Aaron Rodgers’ Hamstring Injury

Want to make the entire Green Bay Packers’ fanbase gasp collectively? Grab the back of your leg and grimace if your name is Aaron Rodgers.

That’s exactly what happened a week and a half ago in the Superdome in New Orleans. One moment he’s lighting up the field, and the Packers were matching the Saints score for score. But one sprint toward the end zone, and everything changed.

Whether or not he felt a pop doesn’t really matter. Everyone with a medical degree from the university of Google could diagnose his injury. Aaron Rodgers hurt his hamstring on that run.

As of yesterday, he told listeners to his weekly radio show with Jason Wilde, the hamstring feels “fine.”

But what exactly is a hamstring injury you may ask. Well, it’s a spectrum of injuries, like many orthopedic injuries.

The fact Rodgers continued to play tells me he was on the milder end of the spectrum whereas former Packer Desmond Bishop required surgery and quite hasn’t been the same since.

The hamstring is actually a group of three muscles on the backside of the thigh–the biceps femoris (yes, your leg as a biceps, too), the semimembranosus, and the semitendinosus. Yes, they do kind of sound like spell names from Harry Potter.

They attach at the base of the pelvis on the ischeal tuberocity (the bony bottom of the butt) on one end, and anchor to the top of the lower leg on the other. Like the bicep in the arm that make the arm bend at the elbow, these three muscle function in the same manner for the leg. When they contract, it causes the knee to bend. Kind of essential if you want to run.

Like many injuries, the severity is a continuum. A Grade 1 injury is merely a muscle strain with minimal tearing to the muscle fibers themselves. A Grade 2 injury involves a partial tear through one of the muscles. And a Grade 3 tear is a complete rupture/tear through one of the muscles.

Grade 1 and 2 injuries will heal on their own with rest and rehab. Because the muscle is completely torn apart in a Grade 3 tear, those type of injuries need to be repaired surgically and are frequently season-ending injuries.

hammy anatomyThat said, I’m pretty sure Bishop was in the Grade 3 category, but what does this mean for Aaron Rodgers?

Yesterday he also told listeners that the medical staff gave him a 7 day rehab plan which likely involved ice, ibuprofen, stretching and maybe some light jogging. So when he said he wasn’t doing anything last week, it included this.

This coupled with the fact that he kept playing in New Orleans lends me to believe he is likely in on the opposite end of the spectrum from Bishop.

 

He wasn’t writhing on the ground like you saw in the World Cup this summer or inevitably during an Olympic race. Rather, Rodgers while still mobile, transformed into a glimpse he jokes is the “40 year old version of himself.” Nevertheless, a muscle strain still  hurt like a son of a gun, and I’m sure he felt every thirty of his years (and then some) the next morning.

So when he declares that he is fine, I tend to believe him. Two weeks off may very well be enough for  a minor injury to heal. The bye week could not come a more convenient time. A week off of all physical assault to the muscles occurred exactly when Aaron Rodgers needed, and now he has a week to ease back into things.

What does this mean for this week? Hopefully Rodgers is well on the road to recovery like he says he is. The fact that he was snarky about it yesterday is about as comforting as any Packers’ medical report. Remember how downtrodden he sounded last year? We didn’t hear that yesterday. So add Fine to Relax as you expand your Rodgers lexicon.

This isn’t like last year. (Unfortunately the role of the busted clavicle will be played by Nick Foles) where everyone waited patiently while two ends of a bone had to knit together on their own.

But pay attention to Rodgers’ mobility this week when the Packers take on the Bears. If he’s able to move around the pocket and the read-option is viable, it will tell me he’s fully healed and is ready for the second half of the 2014 season to begin.

Like I said, the bye week could not have come at a more crucial time.

 

This article is for entertainment purposes only and cannot be construed as medical advice. It does not replace the advice of your own personal physician and is not a substitute for a real examination. Caveat emptor, don’t eat yellow snow, and these are not the droids you are looking for.

 

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Kelly Hodgson is a writer for PackersTalk.com and you can listen to her as a Co-Host of Out of the Pocket. You can also follow Kelly on Twitter at @ceallaigh_k

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