9/21/21, 6:34 PM
Dupree is back in action, and will likely be ramping up his performance over the next few games. Data on NFL ACL tears tell us that odds are in favor of him being reliably healthy in the short term, but his productivity may decline and career may be shortened as a result of the injury. These effects should be relatively mild in his case, and we’d expect him to have a productive 2021 once he gets re-acclimated. We'd anticipate ~Week 4 for that process to kick in.
Return to Play:
When the 2021 season started, Dupree had 9 months pass since his ACL tear. That’s fortunate, because it’s right around the time when most surgeons (~70%) would clear him for return to sports.
He’s publicly stated that he feels great and has been playing without any obvious issues. Most likely, he won’t miss much, if any, real game time this year.
One of the key questions is durability. For most NFL athletes, re-injury after ACL reconstruction occurs within the first 10 weeks after returning to play. If he outlasts that time period - which we expect he will - then most players would be in the clear for the short-term.
The bad news is that ACL tears have been shown in NFL data to decrease productivity for multiple positions (though not specifically for LBs), and decrease post-injury career length compared to uninjured peers.
As a result, while we are expecting Dupree to play the entirety of the season, we expect him to show some decline from his prior level of play, and ultimately have a shorter career than an otherwise healthy LB.
Image Source: Jeffrey Beall, CC-BY-3.0