Cam Akers Injury Timeline: From torn Achilles to the NFL Conference Championship

How did Rams running back Cam Akers go from tearing his Achilles in July to returning from injury to lead this backfield in January?

After a strong finish to his rookie season, Cam Akers was poised to take over the Rams backfield in 2021. Unfortunately, a midsummer injury derailed his campaign before it ever began. Miraculously, Akers was able to return from his torn Achilles before the end of the season. Let’s review Akers’ remarkable recovery from the time of his injury until his return at the end of the regular season.

Cam Akers injury timeline

While working out in the middle of July, Akers tore his Achilles. An Achilles tear is widely considered the worst possible injury for a running back. It used to be a career death sentence basically.

Akers underwent surgery in late July to repair the injury. As soon as he was physically able to, he started rehabbing. Akers was out of his walking boot just a month after surgery, owing a ton of credit to his surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Akers’ remarkable return from injury

Achilles tears typically come with a 9-12 month recovery time for professional athletes. Yet, during the final week of December, Akers returned to practice. Head coach Sean McVay said the plan was to work Akers back into the swing of things slowly and hopefully have him available for the postseason.

Prior to Week 16, the Rams activated Akers from injured reserve in a purely procedural move to get him three active games on the roster for pension credit. He was never going to play that week, but his activation spoke volumes about where he was physically.

Akers practiced fully ahead of Week 17 but remained inactive. Then, in Week 18, it finally happened.

Akers returned to action just five and a half months after tearing his Achilles. It would be an astounding recovery at any position, but even more so at running back.

What can we expect from Akers going forward?

During the summer months, we all saw plenty of chatter about how this was a potentially career-destroying injury for Akers. After all, we had never seen a running back successfully return from a torn Achilles. We also didn’t have a particularly large sample size. More importantly, none of the players in the sample were as young or as talented as Akers.

After watching Akers play in the first two rounds of the NFL playoffs, I can confidently say “he’s back.” Akers played 20% of the snaps in Week 18, 53% in the Wild Card Weekend, and 81% in the Divisional Round. Clearly, McVay agrees. He turned this backfield completely over to Akers, and I fully expect Akers to have that breakout season in 2022 that he never got the chance to have in 2021.

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