How the Detroit Lions approach the wide receiver position this offseason will likely hinge on the recovery of Ryan Broyles. Broyles tore his right ACL against the Colts two weeks ago – 13 months after tearing his left ACL in his final season as an Oklahoma Sooner.
Every recovery is a case unto itself but we can look at some other examples to find out when he might be back.
The place to start is with Broyles himself. He tore his left ACL on November 5, 2011 and underwent surgery a couple weeks later. He was able to do a little bit of running for scouts before the draft but the Lions took it easy with him as he worked his way back. It was a slow start through training camp and the early portion of the season but Broyles did see game-action on August 17 in a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. Add a month to that to account for the early December tear this time around and we might be talking about a return around week three of next year.
But the circumstances surrounding Broyles’ recovery will be substantially different this time around. Instead of being a draft prospect ultimately joining the Lions mid-way through his recovery, this recovery and rehab will take place under the Lions’ eye from start to finish. The Lions will still want to be cautious with their young receiver but the familiarity between the two sides should allow for a smooth progression through the rehab process. He knows the Lions and the Lions know him, that should be a key advantage this time around.
That situation sounds a lot more like what the Lions went through with Brandon Pettigrew who tore an ACL on Thanksgiving Day in 2009. Pettigrew returned to start in all 16 games in 2010. That’s good news for Broyles considering his time table, at least initially, will be very similar to Pettigrew’s prior to the 2010 season.
Obviously we’ll have to wait to see how it all plays out but the early view doesn’t look too bad. Broyles certainly knows what lies ahead having gone through it all before. The Lions were able to get Pettigrew back strong enough to play to start the next season, let’s hope they can do the same with Broyles.