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Meszaros Expects to Bounce Back Quickly from His Achilles Tear


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by Michael DeNicola

On August 7th, Paul Holmgren told the media that Andrej Meszaros had surgery that morning to repair his right achilles tendon. A "tear" had been reported, but we were unaware of how extreme the tear was.

Until this weekend.

"Completely torn," is what Meszaros told Flyers beat writer, Randy J. Miller. When it happened, Mesz believed it was something wrong with his shoe.

Miller went on to compare the situation to Ryan Howard's, the Philadelphia Phillies' big bat and first baseman who ruptured his achilles tendon late last MLB season.

“It’s scary that he was out for that long, but I don’t believe that I will miss that much time,” Meszaros toldthe Courier Post. “Everybody heals differently.”

Andrej went on to use Kings' winger, Justin Williams, as a prime example of a NHLer tearing his achilles tendon but returning after only 11-weeks post-surgery. So, Meszaros is hoping he makes the same recovery in similar amount of time.

This injury hits home with me, personally. Four years ago, I completely tore my left achilles tendon in half. Not a minor tear or a near-rupture. I busted the damn thing in two pieces. It's very embarrassing, really. I did it playing basketball by myself in my backyard. After a long workday in mid-March, I decided to shoot hoops while no one was home. I had been playing for roughly an hour, and decided to turn my last few minutes on the court into an imaginary game situation. As I made my way to the perimeter, I stopped on a dime and jumped up to take a 3-pointer.

Right then and there, in midair, I felt the bust.

Like Meszaros, I thought a million different things had gone wrong at once. None of which had anything to do with my achilles. At first, I tried walking it off.

Big mistake.

It's a physical impossibility to take a step without the services of your achilles tendon. So, I tumbled to the pavement like a wet stack of laundry. That's when the pain set in.

The agony was so great that I can recall trying to prevent myself from passing out three different times as I dragged myself to the house. The sun was almost down, and given it was the month of March, I did not want to lose consciousness before the night's freezing temperatures sent me into hypothermia. Remember, no one was home, and there was no telling when anyone would be back....or worse, if they'd even think to search for me outside in the backyard.

I'm going off on a tangent now. My point is, this injury is hell. The pain, the surgery, the recovery, and, especially, the rehabilitation.

Once the surgeon cut a 10-inch slit from my heel to my upper calf, dug into my leg to retrieve both ends of my torn tendon, trim the frayed pieces of tendon so the two ends could be cleanly sewn together, and then stapled the surgical entry back up.....it was time I stayed in a cast for 10 - 12 weeks.

Then, once the cast was removed, I spent two days going to the doctor's office to re-stretch my tendon to a normal length so that the bottom of my foot could be completely flat to the ground. Those sessions were hell on earth.

Then, after I had re-taught myself some balance, I spent the next 5-months driving to physical rehabilitation three days a week. So, a part of me says Meszaros doesn't have a chance returning to the game of ice hockey after missing 11-weeks off his feet.

But, like Andrej said, everyone heals differently. Perhaps his achilles tear is not as extreme as mine was. And I'd certainly never pretend to think a professional athlete, earning millions of dollars, would undergo the same rehab treatment I went through. I imagine he'd be looked at more extensively, and he can afford to lay on his ass all day, keeping his leg propped, eating like a king and keeping himself so doped on percocets that he could take a swung shovel to the nads and laugh it off.

Believe me, the pain killers are needed after this surgery. Especially to sleep. The slightest detail in a dream that triggers your leg to jerk in any manner will send a pain message into your brain's registry so fast that it'll rocket you out of the deepest R.E.M., screaming like you're being tortured.

I'm hoping Mesz makes a Wolverine-like recovery. I'm hoping.

And if there's a delay to the season due to the current labor unrest, it could turnout that Meszaros makes a quick recovery and doesn't miss a single regular season game. We need Andrej on the blue line, especially with Pronger out of commission and our inability to rope in Shea Weber.

Let's just see what happens. But, for the love of God, Mesz, don't hurry back prematurely.

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I had a total rupture in December and the surgery was not adequate. Being a bit older & having had injections for the tendonitis that preceeded it, obviously we dont heal like 26-30 year old athletes with tears in parts of the achilles that are less susceptible to re rupture

I just had a total reconstruction by the same doc who did Mezaros a few days before me

No way 11 weeks.

I think I will plant a seed in the docs mind during my followups to hold him back, maybe I will slip him a few $$$, LOL

He is going to be compensating for his back surgery recovery on top of this. Man he really needs to take his time.........

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