With the second week of college football in the books, there were several notable injuries that occurred. For the Alabama Crimson Tide, the injury could have been substantial. The reason being is because they were at risk of potentially losing their second starting outside linebacker to a season ending injury. Against the Miami Hurricanes, in week one, they lost starting outside linebacker Chris Allen to a foot injury that required surgery. In this past weekend’s game against Mercer, Will Anderson Jr. suffered a right knee injury.
While he was able to walk under his own power to exit the field, the knee injury could have been more serious. It’s now being reported he is day-to-day and could play this weekend against the Florida Gators.
The reporting from ESPN and The Athletic have been much for positive and encouraging he did not sustain a more serious injury. I was a bit surprised it is “just” a right knee hyperextension, I certainly thought a medial meniscus and a medial collateral ligament sprain considering the way his knee was bent and the force applied.
Nick Saban stated on Monday that Anderson had the day off and will continue to be monitored.
The knee joint is made up of the femur, tibia, and fibula. The knee is reinforced by the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), lateral collateral ligament (LCL), and the medial collateral ligament (MCL). Other (posterior) ligaments that are not shown that also contribute to stability of the knee are the oblique popliteal ligament and arcuate popliteal ligament. There is one other ligament not shown on the anterior lateral side of the knee, that runs with the lateral collateral ligament, is known as the anterior lateral ligament, it attaches the femur to the tibia on the lateral side, while the lateral collateral ligament attaches the femur to the fibula.
The anterior cruciate ligament – attaches the femur and the tibia and prevents excessive anterior translation of the tibia about the femur
The posterior cruciate ligament – attaches the femur and the tibia and prevents excessive posterior translation of the tibia about the femur
The lateral collateral ligament – attaches the femur and the fibula on the lateral side of the knee and prevents excessive lateral motion of the knee.
The medial collateral ligament – attaches the femur and the tibia on the medial side of the knee and prevents excessive lateral motion of the knee and blends directly with the knee capsule and the medial meniscus.
The anterior lateral ligament – attaches the femur and the tibia on the lateral side of the knee and prevents excessive lateral motion of the knee, runs parallel with the lateral collateral ligament. It is similiar to the medial collateral ligament, where it blends and thickens with the knee capsule.
The oblique popliteal ligament – expansion of the semimembranosus muscle and runs across the posterior joint capsule.
The arcuate popliteal ligament – Y-shaped ligament that attaches the femur to the fibular head on the posterior side.
Any of these ligaments can be damaged via direct blow to the knee. Depending on the direction of the force that makes contact with the knee, it influences which ligaments can be damaged. Also cutting, jumping, and twisting on a planted leg can damage several of these ligaments. As you can see in the photos below, the offensive player hits the knee on the lateral side and the knee does not “hyperextend” in the traditional way. Which is why when i first saw the play I initially thought medial meniscus, medial collateral damage.
Damage to any ligaments are known as “sprains” and are graded on a scale of one to three.
Grade 1: Stretching or slight/minimal tearing of the ligament and is associated with “mild” tenderness, stiffness, swelling. There may be a mild limp.
Grade 2: Moderate tearing of the ligament/incomplete tearing and is associated with moderate tenderness and swelling. Difficultly walking but the knee is still stable but the individual may feel some instability.
Grade 3: Complete tear of the ligament and a feeling of instability.
Designated To Return:
My best assumption is that he will play on Saturday. I think it is going to be on a limited basis and a tolerance to what he can handle when playing at game speed. Alabama’s sports and performance and athletic rehabilitation team is widely known as one of the best in the business.
I don’t anticipate he will play the following week against Southern Mississippi to continue to rehabilitate and recover. He’s obviously going to be sore each day for the next several weeks and may need to take several weeks at a time to recovery to allow him to be the healthiest towards the later portion of the season. I don’t believe this injury is going to be season-ending at this time unless further damage is sustained.