At a Glance –
Player: Sam Hubbar
Position: Edge Rusher
Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Injury: calf injury
Projected Recovery Time: 2-6 weeks.
The Cincinnati Bengals are first in the AFC North, and fans are hopeful for a long playoff run to potentially (and finally) grab a hold of that Lombardi Trophy. However, they recently suffered an injury on the defensive end that will span to the end of the season. During Sunday’s game against the Bucs, Sam Hubbard, an edge rusher that has started all of the games this season for the Bengals, suffered a calf injury. Reports confirm that he is likely to miss a few upcoming games, though there is hope that he will return come postseason.
The details of the injury have not been disclosed, but it is likely that Hubbard suffered a calf strain. The calf itself is made up of two muscles: the soleus and gastrocnemius. These muscles are largely responsible for propulsion with running, and Hubbard needs them to be fully functioning to fulfill the demands of the position; participating in PT will help him return safely. In the earlier phases of rehab, focus will be on strengthening in non-weight bearing positions to avoid putting too much stress on the healing calf, as well as addressing any ankle deficits that may have contributed to the initial injury. His therapist can perform ankle mobilizations to promote improved range-of-motion of the ankle, and coupled with targeted gastroc/soleus stretch, Hubbard will see improved ankle excursion that will help him avoid re-aggravation of the strain. As the healing process progresses, his PT will design a program to allow him to gradually load the muscle and tendon to prevent both atrophy and overuse, as both of those outcomes can delay his recovery even more. This program will include several single leg exercises, specifically focusing on single leg calf activation via heel raises and single leg jumps, to ensure that Hubbard will be able to perform all required of him during the game. Once Hubbard can participate in treatment sessions and practice with minimal limitations or pain, he will be able to return to play. If all goes well, Hubbard should make it back in time for playoffs, and with how the Bengals have been playing, it is pretty likely he will still be needed.
In this video, the 3DPT team demonstrates a few exercises that could be incorporated into a rehab program for a calf injury.
Early Stage: Toe walking with ball
Late Stage: Reciprocal skips for height
Return to Sport: Bear crawls with furniture sliders