When New York Giants tight end Jake Ballard went down on Sunday night during Super Bowl XLVI, team doctors initially believed he had torn his meniscus. Unfortunately, an MRI later revealed a torn ACL.
"And then (after) the MRI, the doc came in with a look on his face and I just knew it wasn't my meniscus," Ballard said. "So it was pretty frustrating."
Earlier in the game, teammate and fellow tight end Travis Beckum had hit the ground after tearing his ACL as well. The dual injuries left the Giants with only one tight end, Bear Pascoe, who had spent much of the season as a fullback. It also leaves the Giants with only two tight ends (Bear Pascoe – RFA & Christian Hopkins) heading into the offseason.
General Manager Jerry Reese said on Thursday that he expects both players to begin the 2012 NFL season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, and with a 12-18 month recovery time, that's almost a certainty.
Still, Ballard, who's an exclusive rights free agent, remains optimistic and hopeful that he can return to the field after only eight months of recovery and rehab.
"I definitely don't want to go out there too early and hurt it again," he said, "so if I get eight, nine months to prepare, I'm fine with that. … Clint Sintim came back too early and he might not have been ready and he hurt it again. So we're going to play it by ear and I'm going to bust my butt to try and make it by the beginning of the season."
Several of Ballard's teammates, including cornerback Terrell Thomas, had also suffered ACL injuries last season. Thomas tore his in a preseason victory over the Chicago Bears on August 22nd and just began running this past week – six months later. His goal is to be ready to play by week one of the 2012 regular season (almost 13 months after the initial injury).
All of these ACL-related injuries are poised to impact the Giants in 2012.
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