Michael Thomas, the wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints of the NFL, picked up a high ankle sprain after his teammate Latavius Murry accidentally clipped the back of Thomas’ leg in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game.
The NFL Network reported that Thomas has a high ankle sprain and could be out of action for several weeks.
The sprain, or the ligament injury, which Thomas picked up is above the ankle joint, so it is called a high ankle sprain, according to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tim Finney, who is not treating Thomas but explained what might have happened to him.
Dr. Finney of Southern Orthopedic Specialists explained, “So, he probably torqued downward and then to the side, and when that twists, like that bone the talus, basically torques and tears that ligament.”
A ligament called syndesmosis ligament, which holds the two leg-bones together, has been damaged. Without that ligament, it makes it difficult to put weight on the foot because those bones spread apart. However, the complexity of Thomas’ injury is unclear.
“The grade one type sprains you can treat in a boot, a walking boot, and most of them recover from that pretty well. It may take a few weeks still, grade one, to comfortably cut, run,” Dr. Finney said.
He explained that there is a procedure called the TightRope for grade two and three high ankle sprain. In that procedure, a “permanent very heavy thread is strung through the two bones horizontally to hold them together. it gives extra stability forever, even after the ligament heals.”
Dr. Finney said, “It’s pretty minor surgery. It’s outpatient. Very quick rehab.”
Tua Tagovailoa, a former Alabama quarterback, had the procedure done on both of his ankles – one in 2018 and the other in 2019.
Tagovailoa, who now plays for Miami Dolphins, picked up a high ankle sprain in the Alabama-Tennessee game in October 2019. He made a comeback after three weeks for the Alabama-LSU game in November 2019.
Dr. Finney said, “He [Tagovailoa] was back to practice pretty quickly, but you could tell even after that game, he was limping, and he took some hits. So even at four weeks after surgery, you could still have some soreness.” When asked about his opinion on Thomas’ recovery and high-performance ability, Dr. Finney replied, “Yeah, I think, I think you can get back fully after this heals up.”