It’s the worst possible news a player can receive—you’ve been placed on Injured Reserve.
Sandwiched between talk of his future and who will be under center this weekend in Atlanta, Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan announced yesterday that third-year running back Evan Royster was being shelved on IR after suffering a high ankle sprain.
With Week 17 confirmed as the last game of the season—only three weeks away–Shanahan said Royster’s recovery wouldn’t complete until after the regular season window closed.
The former Penn State star isn’t the only third-year Redskin that will be battle the tough road of recovery so many athletes face daily this offseason. Just three weeks prior to Royster’s painful injury, Shanahan announced that Leonard Hankerson was going under the knife for ACL—and later discovered LCL—surgery.
Together the 2011 draft classmates are vowing to return better than ever.
thank u all for the good wishes! i will be just fine!—
Evan Royster (@Evan_Royster) December 08, 2013
As Redskins.com lead writer Brian Tinsman noted earlier today, high ankle sprains are consider to be the most severe in terms of ankle sprains.
High ankle sprains, typically considered the more serious variety of ankle sprains, occur when a player damages the ligaments above that ankle that connect it to the tibia and fibula.
These injuries are much less comon than sprains to the ligaments on the outside of the foot. They also take more time to heal, usually in the range of six-seven weeks.
While he saw his offensive load carved into by the return of Roy Helu Jr. this season, Royster played a significant role on special teams and was one of the few veteran carryovers from a season ago.
He’s one of a dying breed in the NFL that lavishes the opportunity to play special teams, knowing that just because he’s not seeing action out of the backfield doesn’t mean he’s as important as sunscreen on a snowy December morning. Or in less joke-y terms–he’s still a key cog in the success of the Washington Redskins.
In a pass-happy league that continues to expand the importance of the receiver, Hankerson has continually proven to be the anti-diva, never taking a ‘me-first’ approach and refusing to guarantee outlandish individual goals.
So it came as no shock when Hankerson sent out this tweet complete with a heartbreaking sad face shortly after Shanahan broke the news that he wouldn’t be returning to the field this season:
My LCL was torn, had to get the ACL repaired also, they didn't kno it was 90% torn until they got inside with the scope :(—
Leonard Hankerson (@HankTime85) November 22, 2013
Hank’s had two tough breaks in his NFL career—both after seeing increases in production.
The first came his rookie season where he caught eight balls for a career-high 106 yards vs. Miami. Just hours after giving Redskins Nation a glimpse of his huge upside, though, it was announced that he tore his labrum and was done for the season.
As his teammates have been going through unit meetings and rigorous practice sessions, Hankerson’s been rehabbing with the Redskins staff, readying his body for a long offseason ahead.
For more videos and photos of his rehab check out the first few posts on his Instagram (hanktime85).
Tags: evan royster, InjuredReserve, leonard hankerson, rehab
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