At a Glance –
Player: Darren Waller
Position: Tight End
Team: Las Vegas Raiders
Injury: Hamstring Strain
Projected Recovery Time: 1-6 weeks
The Raiders put up an impressive first half against the Kansas City Chiefs during Monday night’s game. However, they ran into a bit of a tight end issue, as their starting tight end, Darren Waller, left the game after the first play. Waller remained questionable for most of the game with a hamstring injury. Unfortunately for the Raiders, Waller did not return for the game, and unfortunately for Waller, hamstring strains tend to be very nagging injuries, and he may be dealing with this injury for several weeks, depending on the grade of strain. Low-grade strains are classified as mild, with minor damage to individual muscle fibers but preservation of the muscle as a whole. Strength and flexibility may be impacted but minimally, whereas with higher grade strains, you can expect to have significant loss of function.
Regardless of the severity, hamstring strains have high recurrence rates, meaning that re-injury is likely. Wallers’s ability to return, especially without having a re-aggravation of that injury, will be largely dependent on his work with his physical therapy team. His treatment plan will focus on addressing strength and flexibility impairments so he can return to sport with minimal risk of re-injury, and manual therapy and other modalities will be used to improve pain level so he can make a quicker return. Emphasis of his program will be on improving eccentric hamstring strength, which is essential for his position as a tight end. Waller is running during the majority of his time on the field, and running requires a LOT of eccentric hamstring strength as your hamstring is used to control your leg as you swing it forward. The recovering hamstring muscle will be put to the test constantly during Waller’s routes so it is crucial for him to work with his rehab team to avoid being sidelined by this injury again. Typical exercises to “bulletproof” the hamstrings include hamstring bridges, hamstring curls, and nordic leg curls. Waller may be able to return as early as this week to football, but he is going to continue rehabbing that hamstring for much (if not the remainder) of the season. Hopefully he’s back sooner rather than later –the Raiders could certainly use him!
In this video, the 3DPT demonstrates a few exercises that could be incorporated into a rehab program for a hamstring strain.
Early Stage: Single leg bridge with foot elevated
Late Stage: Eccentric nordic hamstring curl
Return to Sport: Barbell RDL into a hang clean
Categorized as: 2022 NFL Blog