NFL says ACL injuries have declined this season

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Despite Rob Gronkowski's ACL injury, the NFL says knee injuries have decreased. (USATSI)
Despite Rob Gronkowski's ACL injury, the NFL says knee injuries have decreased. he

A few weeks after the Patriots had to place tight end Rob Gronkowski on the IR list following a massive hit to his knees from Browns safety T.J. Ward, coach Bill Belichick lamented what he sees as the latest trend in knee injuries.

While discussing the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement which limits the amount of time players can practice in the offseason, Belichick said, "Personally, I think that's taking the wrong approach. You have a gap between preparation and competition level. And I think that's where you see a lot of injuries occurring. We get a lot of breakdowns. We get a lot of situations that players just aren't as prepared as they were in previous years, in my experience anyway.”

Belichick believes ACL injuries have risen, but the NFL has told its Health and Safety Advisory committee the exact opposite.

According to a memo obtained by the Associated Press, the NFL says research showed there were 30 ACL injuries from the preseason through Week 13. To compare, the league says there were 39 ACL injuries in 2012, 35 in 2011 and 31 in 2009.

There was, however, an increase in MCL injuries from 74 in 2012 to 89 this year. Still, that's down from the 106 MCL injuries the league recorded in 2011.

Thus, the league disagrees with Belichick's opinion on the rising knee injuries.

"We carefully monitor player injuries," NFL spokesman Michael Signora said. "There is no evidence that the new work rules have had an adverse effect on the injury rate or that injuries have in fact increased."

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