By Tom Keppeler, Knee1 Staff
--The National Football League’s Tennessee Titans may have conquered the AFC last year, but it may be the ACL that takes them down this year—or, perhaps, the hamstring.
Just one week after wide receiver Kevin Dyson tore the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee, receiver Carl Pickens went down Sunday with a strained left hamstring muscle. Pickens’ injury marks the third knee injury this season, following receiver Yancey Thigpen’s removal for a strained hamstring. Despite the loss of their top three receivers, the Titans went on to win their game against the New York Giants Sunday, 28 to 14.
Pickens’ sidelining injury was not the only NFL knee problem reported this weekend. The Washington Redskins lost right guard Tre Johnson to a reported knee sprain, the Detroit Lions reserve-listed defensive tackle James Jones for a bruised knee, and Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch had to be helped off the field Sunday after hyperextending his right knee, the Associated Press reported.
Like many other contact sports, football carries a high risk of acute knee injuries, much like soccer and rugby. The quick maneuvering and heavy tackling puts each player at a risk of knee trauma. Unlike jumping sports, like basketball, where knee problems tend to be more degenerative, football hosts a high risk of contact injuries such as MCL and ACL tears, dislocations and sprains.
Lifting weights and stretching to strengthen and warm-up the muscles around the knee will help to keep the joint strong and stable in high-risk situations. Although a freak accident, such as a tackle to the knee by a larger player, can not always be avoided, Pickens went down Sunday without even being touched by another player—hinting that it may have been caused by a quick turn or misplaced footing. Strengthening the area around the knee may reduce the risk of such an injury.
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