Chris Towers at CBSSports writes a story today about history not being kind concerning ruptured-Achilles recovery. It's not good news for Trail Blazer fans.
Achilles injuries aren't quite as common as other catastrophic injuries, but it seems like we have had a rash of them lately. Over the last four years, Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant, Brandon Jennings, Anderson Varejao, Jeff Taylor, Pierre Jackson, Xavier Henry and Elliot Williams have all dealt with this devastating injury, and the returns have not been great. Billups and Bryant suffered their tears toward the end of their careers, but saw a massive dip in both their production and availability in the following seasons, and the rest of the players are largely still recovering from their injuries.
Towers has a table with data compiled from Deadspin.com and BasketballProspectus.com which tracks 14 players since 1992 who sustained the injury and returned to play in the NBA. Their average time on court was reduced by over 25%. Even worse, according to the Deadspin article, seven of the 18 players they tracked did not return to play in the NBA--that's almost 40% of them.
Now a little good news. The players who were the worst performers after the injury were generally the older players like Kobe Bryant and Chauncey Billups, players over 30 years of age. Wesley is only 28 years old and in his athletic prime and those players did pretty well after recovery.
All in all, players who returned from a ruptured Achilles didn't see a huge dropoff in their rate stats in their first season back, surprisingly. On the whole, these players' usage, rebound and assists rates generally stayed constant. However, their efficiency took a hit, as the collective dropped from 45.9 percent shooting to 40.9 on average. That could be the result of players settling for more 3-pointers as they tried to get their legs under them, as the average 3-point rate rose 21 percent.
Wouldn't it be nice next season to have a Wesley Matthews who shoots the three-ball at a 60% clip (39 + 21)? If anyone can come back from this kind of devastating injury and be a better player it's Wesley Matthews.