Colts LB Shaquille Leonard was a full participant in today’s practice. He was activated from the PUP list yesterday after missing the last two months of team activities due to back issues.
Leonard had surgery in June to correct two discs that were impinging nerves. The impinged nerves caused a “shooting pain” down his legs and into his ankle. It was the same ankle he had surgery on in the summer of 2021.
Often, back pain is assumed to be a muscular issue rather than a nerve issue. But when a spinal disc pinches, compresses, or irritates a nerve root the pain can feel similar. Surgery is required to alleviate this pain if things like physical therapy or medication don’t help. In the case of Leonard, he likely underwent a laminotomy or a laminectomy.
Both are spinal decompression surgeries that involve removing a portion of the vertebrae (lamina) to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves. The difference is that a laminotomy is the partial removal of the lamina to create more space for the nerves, while a laminectomy is the complete removal of the lamina. After the procedure, spinal fusion may be required.
Our algorithm predicts that Leonard has reached Optimal Recovery and his metrics are trending in a good direction. His Injury Risk is Elevated (16%) and his Health Performance Factor is Peak (85%). If the Colts hold him out of Week 1, it would likely be because they are seeing something concerning, or because Leonard doesn’t feel comfortable. Otherwise, he should be good to go.