RBs who've returned from ACL tears
Robert Edwards
Robert Edwards

Posted May 12, 2003

Can Willis McGahee come back? Former Patriots running back Robert Edwards suffered a much worse knee injury, and he made it back. During the 1999 Pro Bowl week, Edwards jumped and landed awkwardly on his leg in a beach football game, tearing three of four knee ligaments and fraying the other.

He also stretched the peroneal nerve – affecting foot control – and nicked the popliteal artery, which hindered the limb’s blood supply. In fact, if doctors hadn’t rushed him to surgery, Edwards was about two hours away from an amputation. Amazingly, he returned to the NFL last year as a Miami specialty back.

Here is a list of NFL running backs who recently came back from torn knee ligaments. It includes their current team, type of injury and their comeback year production.

Robert Edwards, Miami
Torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and frayed lateral collateral ligament (LCL), nerve, artery damage, Jan. ‘99
2002: 12 games, 20 rushes, 107 yards, one TD; 18 catches, 126 yards, one TD

Jamal Lewis, Baltimore
Torn ACL, sprained MCL, Aug. 2001
2002: 16 games, 308 rushes, 1,327 yards, six TDs; 47 catches, 442 yards, one TD

Edgerrin James, Indianapolis
Torn ACL, Oct. 2001 2002: 14 games, 277 rushes, 989 yards, two TDs; 61 catches, 354 yards, one TD

Olandis Gary, Buffalo
Torn ACL, Sept. 2000
2001: Nine games [suffered unrelated broken leg], 57 rushes, 228 yards, one TD

Jamal Anderson, out of NFL
Torn right ACL, Sept. 1999; torn left ACL, Sept. 2001
2000: 16 games, 282 rushes, 1,024 yards, six TDs; 42 catches, 382 yards, 0 TDs; 2002: No comeback attempted Terrell Davis, Denver
Torn ACL, partially torn MCL, cartilage damage, Oct. 1999
2000: Five games [suffered unrelated ankle, lower leg problems], 78 rushes, 282 yards, two TDs

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