Designated to Return: LB Lavonte David

On Sunday, January 24th in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers, linebacker Lavonte David injured his hamstring in the 3rd quarter. Tampa Bay would ultimately go on to win the game and I do not believe Lavonte David exited the game.

While the severity of his hamstring is unknown (some level of strain) it has been noted by reporters that he did not practice last week. And he is technically listed as questionable (Q) for the game.

Let’s review the hamstring muscles. The hamstring muscles are the muscles on the posterior side of the femur. The Semitendinosus and Semimembranosus on the medial (inside) side and the Biceps Femoris long head and short head on the lateral (outside) side of the femur.

The Semitendinosus and Semimembranosus are both innervated by the tibial division of the Sciatic nerve while the Biceps Femoris Long head is innervated by the Tibial nerve and the Biceps Femoris Short head is is innervated by the Common Peroneal (Fibular) nerve.

The two most common movements of the hamstrings are extension of the femur (at the hip joint) and flexion of the knee. But when it comes to function, the hamstrings plays a much larger role because they cross two joints (the hip and the knee).

When walking or running, the hamstrings plays a larger role than just bending the knee or extending the hip. When the leg makes contact with the ground, the hamstrings co-contract (with the quadriceps) to stabilize the knee for loading. And when the hip is swinging forward when running, the hamstrings are controlling hip flexion through an eccentric contraction and also have to prepare that same limb for initial contact with the ground.

Liu, Y. et al. “The late swing and early stance of sprinting are most hazardous for hamstring injuries.” Journal of Sport and Health Science 6 (2017): 133 – 136.

While the severity of a hamstring injury can range from a Grade I (slight pull) to a Grade III (complete tear). The injury can occur in the muscle belly itself or near the attachment site. If it is near an attachment site, it is more likely at the ischial tuberosity attachment site (pelvis) than at the tibia attachment site. Hamstring injuries do not go away overnight and can often be season-long injuries because of the vital role they play in every day activities.

Surgical intervention is indicated if there is an avulsion injury, where the tendon attachment has been pulled from the bone, which is not the case of Lavonte David. Otherwise, non-surgical intervention will consist of manual therapy, stretching, massage, heating, icing, and strengthening exercises to get him ready for this weekend’s game.

He’s not expected to miss Super Bowl LV on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Head Coach Bruce Arians reiterated that during Media Day.

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