Husker basketball coach Doc Sadler announced today that Christopher Niemann, a 6'10" transfer from Germany, retore his ACL last week. Niemann originally injured his knee in March and was cleared to resume playing when the knee failed again. An erie parallel with the case of quarterback Kody Spano, who tore his ACL in spring practice and then reinjured it early in preseason practice.
Coincidence? Maybe. But just the same, that should raise eyebrows in the Nebraska athletic department to look into this situation further. In both of these cases, I was surprised to hear that both players were already cleared to return to action four to five months after ACL surgery. All ACL injuries are not the same, but the general rule seems to be six to nine months. And in actuality, it may take up to a year to fully recover the balance and agility in the knee; a condition known as proprioception.
In the cases of Spano and Niemann, it's only natural to raise questions about what went wrong. Was there something wrong with the original surgeries? Was there something wrong with the rehabilitation plan? Was it simply bad luck? Or were these athletes prematurely cleared to resume competitive play? Only medical experts are qualified to answer those questions, not armchair quarterbacks and bloggers (even if they've stayed at a Holiday Inn Express). But the question is valid.
And hopefully it's being asked in the Husker athletic program, as it's only inevitable that another athlete will suffer an ACL injury.