What we know about Ricardo Allen’s recovery from Achilles surgery

Falcons are on the 6 to 8 month timeline
Safety Ricardo Allen signed a 3-year contract, $19.5 million with the Falcons before the 2018 season.

Credit: Curtis Compton

Combined ShapeCaption
Safety Ricardo Allen signed a 3-year contract, $19.5 million with the Falcons before the 2018 season.

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

One of the keys to the Falcons’ return to contender status in the NFC will be the return of free safety Ricardo Allen, who suffered a torn Achilles in the third game of last season on Sept. 23, 2018.

Going back to 2010, the Falcons medical staff has had some experience with ruptured Achilles tendons.

Cornerback Brent Grimes went down late in the season-opening win over Kansas City on Sept. 9, 2010. He recovered and signed with Miami in free agency at age 30 and went on to make the Pro Bowl.

Defensive end Kroy Biermann, who had the same surgeons and rehab staff as Grimes, went down on against St. Louis on Sept. 15, 2013. He returned to play in 16 games and make 15 starts in 2014. He was a reserve in 16 games in 2015 before his career ended at age 30.

Defensive tackle Corey Peters suffered a torn right Achilles in the 15th game of the 2013 season against San Francisco. His recovery time was expected to be six to eight months.

After signing with Arizona, he suffered a torn left Achilles injury in 2015 and missed the entire season. He made it back to start 41 games and play in 42 over the past three seasons.

Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon appeared headed for stardom in the league when injuries started to mount. He suffered knee and foot injuries during the 2013 season.

In June of 2014, while rehabbing with the trainers on the field, Weatherspoon went down and immediately knew it was bad news. He ruptured his Achilles on June 11.

Robbed on his speed, Weatherspoon was never the same.

In addition to Allen, defensive end Steven Means went down with an Achilles injury on Monday. He will miss the 2019 season.

Weatherspoon was expected to be out five to seven months after his Achilles injury.

“For him to go back to being an inside linebacker, he’s going to be out closer to four or five months, but once he’s healed, he has to rehab again,” said Dr. Phillip Kwong, foot and ankle surgeon at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles at the time.

The rehab from an Achilles tendon injury is arduous.

“He’s going to be very weak with his push-off,” Kwong said. “He’s not going to have the strength to have explosive movements pushing off. That’s mainly it. The weakness of the calf muscle doesn’t give you good control of your knee and your ankle. That’s going to limit his ability to push-off, run and change direction.”

Achilles is not necessarily a career-ending injury.

“It doesn’t have to be career-ending,” Kwong said. “If they can repair it properly and rehab him properly so that he has good movement on his ankle up-and-down and side-to-side, then he (regains) good strength, he can come back.”

Weatherspoon’s problems started after spending part of the 2013 season on injured reserve. He rushed back from a foot injury only to exit again with a knee injury.

Allen's first day back on the field running was on March 20, which was six months from the original injury. So, he's been rehabbing for two months since.

The Falcons, because he’s so important to the defense, would be wise to go slow until training camp, but he could be close to some action.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn was aware of the theory of watching the good Achilles while rehabbing the repaired one.

“Some people do just fine without having the other one done,” Quinn said recently. “I know Kroy has one done earlier in his career and just had the one. Spoon had two. It’s a small percentage that have both. You can’t go into it, like I hope this other one doesn’t happen. You just can’t. You’ve got to go and do your thing. He’s doing good. He’s running.”


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