This video surfaced on social media today showing Nick Chubb rehabilitating his surgically repaired knee. UGA's sports information department confirmed that the guy sprinting for a brief moment in the video is Chubb, and Bulldog fans around the internet rejoiced at the thought of Chubb being "ahead of schedule", and began dreaming of him busting loose against North Carolina six months from now.
While the video is pretty impressive, there are a couple of things that bear noting. For one, anyone who's dealt with a serious knee injury will tell you that straight line walking, then running, are among the first things that come back. It's the lateral movement, the change of direction, that puts stress on the knee from different angles and tests tissue far more severely. Even when that comes back, it doesn't always come back to the extent found in the knee God constructed to begin with. Orthopedic surgery has advanced markedly in the past few years, but it's still impossible to improve on the original design.
Another issue that can't be addressed in a three second video is that of durability. Cleaning up a knee which requires surgical repair is an imperfect exercise. Even if you clean out all the scar tissue accessible at the time of surgery, more develops over time. Surgically repaired knees get sore. The connective tissues get inflamed. The joint requires special care, especially in the first few months after surgery, but often for a lifetime.
I'm not saying Nick Chubb won't be on the field when Georgia takes on the Tar Heels. I'm not saying that he won't end up being just as good as before, if not better. But if we've learned anything from Keith Marshall's shortened career and Todd Gurley's resurgent one it's that every knee surgery is different, every recovery is different, and you can't know immediately how things will turn out. I don't want to dash anyone's excitement. And I'm well aware that Nick Chubb is a truly transcendent athlete, among the most powerful, explosive specimens I've seen. But the truth is that it's going to take a while to figure out exactly what being "back" means for Nick Chubb, and even longer to know if he can stay back. I'm hoping for the best, but at this point it's hope. Nothing less, nothing more.
Until later . . .