Bottom line: Expect him to be ready to play at the start of team activities. Data suggests return to pre-injury performance level (compare to Week 1 of 2019 and Weeks 1-11 of 2018), but potentially decreased career longevity and number of games played per year.
2012: 2 rib fractures
2015: Hamstring strain
2016: Rotator cuff (treated non-operatively)
2017: Ankle (likely sprain)
2018: Thumb sprain (Week 12); Achilles strain (Week 16)
2019: Grade 2 abdominal strain (Week 2); Complete tear of core muscle (Week 9)
2008 - 16/16
2009 - 15/16
2010 - 14/16
2011 - 15/16
2012 - 11/16
2013 - 16/16
2014 - 15/16
2015 - 10/16
2016 - 15/16
2017 - 14/16
2018 - 12/16
2019 - 3/16
Return to Play:
Return rates in NFL players undergoing repair of an abdominal muscle tear are over 90%, with time to return averaging 2-4 months. Jackson is likely fully cleared at this point, and has stated that he feels fully healthy.
Expect return to pre-injury level of performance based on outcomes from two studies on sports hernia surgery in NFL players. Jackson’s projection is further supported by reports that he reached speeds of 19 miles per hour during his rehab back in December (for reference, his fastest speed recorded by NFL Next Gen Stats in Week 1 of 2019 was 21.4 mph). Maintenance of or improvement on his December speed is expected to be the case as he progresses through his recovery. Jackson initially strained his abdominal muscle in Week 2 of 2019, and sustained injuries in Weeks 12 and 16 of 2018 that likely affected his production in each game. Therefore, expectations should be set according to his performance in Week 1 of 2019 and Weeks 1-11 of 2018.
Career length tends to be shorter in NFL players who undergo sports hernia repair. One study reported a post-injury decrease in number of games played per year, while another found no difference. Jackson’s many prior injuries are probably healed at this point, and are unlikely to substantially increase his injury risk going forward. Overall, there is moderate evidence to suggest concerns about durability.
Image Source: Wigstruck, CC 2.0