Logan Thomas’ 2021 season ended with a significant knee injury in week 13. Not only did Thomas tear his ACL, he also damaged the MCL and tore both the medial and lateral meniscus. This additional damage caused surgery to be delayed until December 17th, and it will also lengthen his overall recovery time.
During an interview last month Thomas was asked about his timeline: “We never put a projection on it. It’s supposed to be a 10-month recovery from the time I had surgery, which would put us somewhere around Week 4, but the way I feel and the type of person I am, the type of competitor I am, I’m shooting for Week 1.”
While I’m sure Thomas has made significant progress over the last four and a half months, he still has a very long way to go. The average recovery time for an isolated ACL tear is 9-12 months, but when there is additional damage this time lengthens. The fact that Thomas tore both pieces of the meniscus is concerning both short-term and long-term. The meniscus acts as a stabilizer and a shock absorber in the knee, and it causes the athlete to adjust their rehab early on when it has to be addressed during surgery.
Thomas said he is in the jogging phase of his recovery and is “ahead of schedule.” I feel like we hear almost every athlete recovering from a torn ACL say they are ahead of schedule when really they are right on track. It’s positive that he is cleared for jogging, but progressing to cutting and other more intense movements is a crucial step that needs to be done cautiously. The new ACL takes over a year to fully integrate into the body, but getting to that nine month mark is huge for reducing the risk of a re-tear. The surrounding muscles also atrophy following surgery, and the strength doesn’t come back quickly.
Because of this, Thomas and his medical team need to be careful with pushing him to be ready by week 1. He really shouldn’t return until the second half of the season, and even then he will need to be eased back in.