Keanu Neal should return in a year, might not be dominant until later

Dr. Dale Yake discusses Keanu Neal's timetable to full dominance from a torn ACL

Greg Clarkson
September 08, 2018 - 8:44 am
Keanu Neal

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports


Late in the Atlanta Falcons' Week 1 game versus the Philadelphia Eagles, Keanu Neal tore his ACL.

Neal was removed from the game earlier, with what appeared to be an injury to the same knee. But the strong safety returned to action.

"I don't know what happened underneath the tent, I can't speak to that," said Dr. Daly Yake, a physical therapist, athletic trainer and owner of P.T. Solutions. "I know what we would do. I'm surprised they didn't do some functional testing. They sent him back out on the field. Obviously, whether it was a new injury that occurred in subsequent plays or whether it was from the preceeding injury... obviously, a torn ACL."

The Falcons announced the following day that Neal, had indeed, torn his ACL. 

Now, what does that mean for his rehab and timetable for returning to action?

Yake, who has worked with the St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Lighting, Miami Dolphins, LPGA golfers and myriad other athletes and sports organizations, according to Lenz Marketing, joined Greg Clarkson Saturday morning and discussed what goes on "under the tent" when a player gets injured during a game and how quickly Neal could return to action.

"We've seen athletes do pretty well with return [after a] year, that's pretty much the expectation is to get him back a year from now to actually play on the field," said Yake. "But, is he absolutely at his best at that one-year mark? 

"I would tell you it's about an 18-month period to be absolutely at the speed and dominance, particularly at the speed this guy shows and the thumping and the hitting and the confidence that he'll have. I think it's going to take a year and a half. But he'll be back plahying this time next year."