During the offseason the Baltimore Ravens took a hit on defense.
Superstar linebacker Terrell Suggs, one of the best and most dominant players in the NFL, suffered a serious injury while reportedly playing basketball. The diagnosis was a torn Achilles tendon and the prognosis was that Suggs would miss the entire 2012 season.
Suggs said that he hurt the tendon while working out and doing conditioning and that he would return by November of this season.
According to ESPN from June:
"(Suggs) got hurt Sunday prior to the [basketball tournament] championship game," said Herman (Sonny) Hoffman, the director of the Akchin Gymnasium in Maricopa, Ariz., where the tournament was held.
Some fans wondered if Suggs would be penalized for getting hurt because he was in fact playing basketball, but owner Steve Bisciotti quelled that notion, saying the Ravens would not try to get out of paying his contract.
From ESPN: "Privately, the Ravens have maintained the team would not withhold payments from Suggs, no matter how he was injured."
With that threat behind him, Suggs was able to focus on rehabilitation and getting fully healthy. Amazingly, it seems he has been able to do that and his promise of coming back in November might have been an overstatement for Suggs.
"Terrell Suggs is going to practice today," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said to the Baltimore Sun. "He was out there in the walkthrough. To what extent, what he's able to do, he's coming off a very serious injury. This is the first thing he's been allowed to do. I think he's worked really hard. He's done a great job of rehab. He's had no setbacks during the whole deal. That's a credit to him, a credit to our doctors and a credit to our trainers."
From the article:
"Sources said that even Suggs' family and friends have plans to travel to Houston in anticipation of watching him stage one of the quickest returns from this type of significant injury that any athlete ever has."
"Yes, that's still the plan," one source texted Thursday, according to Schefter.
Suggs is a force for the Ravens. In 2011 he won the AP Defensive Player of the Year after registering 70 tackles, 14 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions. He has been a relatively healthy player for the duration of his career, playing in all 16 games in eight of his nine seasons.
"To what extent, to what he's able to do, I think we should temper our expectations a little bit," Harbaugh said. "He's coming off a very serious injury. I think he's worked really hard. He's done a great job with the rehab, he's followed protocol. He had no setbacks throughout the course of the whole deal."
The team is going through a rough week when it comes to the defense. Legendary linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Ladarius Webb were both injured in Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys. Webb was lost for the season after hurting his knee, and Lewis may possibly miss the rest of the year after hurting his triceps.
The Ravens placed Lewis on injured reserve, but in a place that would allow him to come back if he can get healthy. Webb is officially lost for the season.
Suggs would be a major addition for the team, who are now 5-1 even with all the injuries to the defense. He has the franchise records for career sacks with 82 and career forced fumbles with 25 and can take the place of Lewis as the Ravens' vocal leader.
It's amazing that Suggs has been able to rehab enough to comeback this season. It's even more amazing that he could play in Week 7. It's a testament to his determination and passion for the game and he could be a saving grace for the Ravens, who are thinking about making the Super Bowl this season.