LaDainian Tomlinson pulled out of February’s Pro Bowl due to a torn MCL. He will not be recovered for the next six weeks.
He was replaced on the AFC roster by Willis McGahee, who will make his first Pro Bowl appearance. LT doesn’t need surgery, but will be sidelined longer than original estimates. His quadriceps reportedly atrophied while playing in the AFC Championship. Still, Tomlinson should be ready for spring work. This is the first significant injury of LT2’s seven-year career.
This news might not offer a reprieve for Tomlinson following his less-than-heroic performance in the AFC Championship game against the Patriots. What particularly hurts Tomlinson is the fact that his quarterback played without an ACL in a knee he injured the previous week.
Knee injuries do affect people differently and pain tolerances differ from person-to-person. The fact that Tomlinson is a runningback who relies on short bursts, quick changes of direction and powerful strides means the injury to the knee could have been more detrimental to his success than that of Phillip Rivers’.
This is the first major injury of Tomlinson’s seven-year NFL career. He is approaching the not-so-golden age of 30-years-old, when a runningback’s abilities begin to erode and production wanes. Tomlinson has been such a steady performer throughout his career, but also without injuries most of that career. The annual wear-and-tear on his body caught up to him this year.
So the question is this: Are Tomlinson’s best days behind him?