When Tracy Walker was injured on the field at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 3 of the 2022 season, the Detroit Lions feared the worst for their captain. After losing three players in three years to Achilles injuries, Walker looked to be the fourth.
Walker indeed suffered an Achilles injury that required surgery in late September and his apparent long road to recovery began.
In the past, Achilles' injuries have ended careers, but as medical technology has advanced, NFL players have seen faster returns in their recovery. Recent studies have shown that age, body type, and position play factors in recovery times. Defensive end Romeo Okwara (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) required 13 months following his Achilles surgery before he was able to return to the field, while cornerback Jeff Okudah (6-foot-1, 205) began practicing after just eight months after his surgery.
Despite the range of recovery times and expectations, Walker (6-foot-0, 206) has remained positive throughout the process. In early December, a little over two months after surgery, Walker had already shed his walking boot and was providing positive updates on his rehabilitation.
“I just want to let all my people know that’s tuned in, I told y’all the shakeback is real y’all,” Walker said in the Instagram Reel. “Y’all see that? Ain’t no more boot, man. I told y’all, I’m getting right. Y’all heard me? The shakeback is real. Watch.”
Now, a month later, Walker once again took to social media to provide an update for fans, with the message, “Feels good to run again..”:
Feels good to run again.. #ImComing pic.twitter.com/a8uzv97LUp— Tracy Walker #21 (@TracyWalkerIII) January 12, 2023
Walker still has a lot of rehabilitation in front of him, but getting any level of running movement at this stage is very encouraging. Walker has another four months before Lions veterans take the field again in organized team activities, which he previously told the media was his target return date.
Returning to the field after an Achilles injury in eight months is optimistic, but after seeing Okudah make his return in a similar timeline, coupled with his video progress, it’s possible we see Walker back on the field sooner than anticipated.