ALVIN KAMARA

Updated:

INJURY RISK

2020:

Long-Term:

2/5

4/5

Bottom Line:
Expect Kamara to start 2020 fully recovered from knee and ankle injuries, and with performance levels comparable to Weeks 1-4 of 2019. His short-term durability risk is low, but he carries significant long-term concerns.

Major Injuries:
2019 - high ankle sprain, knee sprain (~Week 5; 2 games missed)
2017 - concussion (week 14; returned following game)
2016 - left knee (LCL sprain, meniscus tear), treated with surgery (returned in 4 weeks)
2012 - knee injury, treated with surgery (missed 3-4 weeks of practice; ultimately red-shirted)

Games Played:
2017 - 16/16
2018 - 15/16
2019 - 14/16

Performance:
Expect production comparable to Weeks 1-4 of 2019, prior to the onset of ankle and knee injuries. Both should be fully healed by now, but likely affected his play throughout the middle and late part of the season.

Durability:
Kamara has been consistent (playing 14+ games/year) since entering the NFL, but does have substantial durability concerns related to prior knee surgeries in 2012 and 2016. He tore his meniscus (shock-absorber) in his left knee in 2016 and returned in 4 weeks, which tells us that the torn piece was probably removed, rather than repaired. He had a knee scope (surgery using a camera in the knee through small incisions) in 2012, but the only public details are that he would’ve been able to return in 3-4 weeks. This surgery could have been done for multiple different reasons, but even without further information, data already makes us cautious about his outlook. NFL studies demonstrate that players entering the league with his knee injury history ended up having shorter careers and fewer games played (5.6 vs 7 years, 62 vs 85 games) than their peers. It also puts him at higher risk of developing an injury to the knee cartilage (which lines and protects the bones), which data strongly indicate lead to decreased productivity (think Todd Gurley). That situation is probably not developing yet, so concern for 2020 is low. We would, however, have second thoughts about committing to Kamara long-term.

Image Source: Tammy Anthony Baker, CC-BY-2.0

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