Ryan Williams’ outlook on recovery from torn patella tendon is bad news for Victor Cruz

In spite of all of the positive buzz surrounding Victor Cruz's recovery, the nature of his injury leaves open the possibility that he may never regain his trademark lateral agility and explosion.

Eric Hartline/Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Ryan Williams has been there before. As a rookie, after being selected with the No. 38 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Williams suffered a torn patella tendon during his rookie season with the Cardinals. This is the same injury that New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz suffered in 2014.

As someone who has attempted to battle back from the injury, Williams offers insight based on first hand experience. In an interview with ESPN’s Todd Archer about teammate Morris Claiborne’s torn patella tendon, Williams had no interest in sugar-coating the injury.

"Growing up I thought that the worst injury you could have is the ACL," Williams said. "Nah, when you tear that patellar tendon and your kneecap shifts to your thigh, that’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy."

Since returning from the injury, Williams has not been the same explosive running back prospect that he once was. He has not found a long-term home after the Cardinals moved on from him, and he spent last season on the Cowboys’ practice squad. Although he is hopeful that his teammate Claiborne can return from the injury, his optimism was somewhat hidden by his cryptic assessment of Claiborne’s chances.

"There’s no easy way to walk anybody through that process," Williams said. "I believe that he’ll come back and he believes it at the same time. But how the business is and the things of that sort, sometimes it just doesn’t go your way."

Cruz’s rehabilitation process has gone according to schedule, the coaches and general manager Jerry Reese are optimistic, and he’s even sharing rigorous workout videos with his fans via social media. He has recently started cutting and jumping again.

In spite of all this, Williams’ evaluation should leave you skeptical about Cruz’s chances of returning to the field in 2015 as the dominant wide receiver we’ve only ever seen him as. Back in October, Dr. James Gladstone, Co-Chief, Division of Sports Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, told the New York post the regaining full range of motion is not always possible.

“Just because the repair is tighter than the original tendon,’’ Gladstone said.

Until Cruz gets into game situations or even simulated game situations, there is no way to tell if he’ll be back to true form. We will need to pay attention closely as he makes his breaks in and out of routes to create separation, and as he makes his cuts up field in short areas. Cruz has never been a wide receiver who wins with straight-line speed or leaping ability, his lateral agility and explosion are what sets him apart. Athletes have made full recoveries from a torn patella tendon before, but it’s important to acknowledge that all of the positive spin and coach-speak won’t have any effect on Cruz’s odds to make a full recovery.

(h/t ESPN)

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports