By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – No stranger to comebacks, Detroit Lions wide receiver Ryan Broyles has already blown out both ACLs and rehabbed successfully from those injuries. Now Broyles faces another long-term injury.
Head coach Jim Schwartz, who usually reveals next to nothing about injuries, said Sunday Broyles could be long-term. The team feared he might have ruptured his Achilles, and Schwartz confirmed Monday that turned out to be the case.
Out for the season, Broyles will have surgery Tuesday.
“It’s tough,” Schwartz said. “Three years in a row he’s had season-ending injuries. Those are not easy things to come back from, but he’s a tough guy. If anybody can come back from it, he can.”
“Even with the time he’s missed, he found a way to come in and contribute,” Schwartz said. “Just hasn’t been 100 percent his first two years, and now he’s going to be going through the same thing again … His experience going through it I’m sure will help. It’s a tough thing to go through for any player, much less three years in a row.”
As far as concern about Broyles’ future in the league, Schwartz said that worry about career-ending injuries is just part of the game, a factor that all players have to deal with whether they have had serious issues in the past or not.
Broyles apparently ruptured his Achilles on a subtle movement while letting a punt go over his head for a touchback. Schwartz said Broyles, whom he characterizes as a very good decision-maker, made the right call.
“We’ve seen a bunch of Achilles [injuries] that it doesn’t look like very much, just a little bit of a change of direction,” Schwartz said. “It wasn’t an explosive movement. It just is what it is. I’ve seen unfortunately too many Achilles injuries that you would look at it and say, ‘Geez, that was it?’ But that’s what happens.”
The decrease in depth at wide receiver because of Broyles’ injury could be lessened by the impending return of fellow wide receiver Nate Burleson, who has been inactive since late September since breaking his arm in a car crash. Burleson aims to be back by the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, which happens after next week’s bye.
Schwartz said Burleson’s return could prove helpful but that it would be conditional on his health, not the Lions’ current lack of depth at his position.
“It’s too soon to know when Nate’s going to be able to return, and Nate’s timetable will be based on his health, not because of the health of any other player,” Schwartz said. “We’re not going to rush him back because Broyles is out.”