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Sports

December 27, 2013

NFL: ACL injuries down through 13 weeks

NEW YORK — ACL injuries are down, the NFL has told its Health and Safety Advisory Committee.

In a memo to the committee sent earlier this week and obtained by The Associated Press, the league said research showed there were 30 ACL injuries in games through the preseason and first 13 weeks of the schedule. There were 39 such injuries in 2012, 35 in 2011, 37 in 2010, and 31 in 2009.

Anterior cruciate ligament problems are the most severe knee injuries.

There was an increase in medial collateral ligament injuries (MCL), from 74 in 2012 to 89 in games this season through 13 weeks. But there were 106 MCL injuries in 2011, 89 in 2010 and 103 in 2009.

The injury reporting service Quintiles/Outcome provided the numbers to the league, which then sent them to the committee chaired by 49ers owner John York. The committee also includes Giants owner John Mara, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Packers President Mark Murphy and Falcons President Rich McKay. The data are for all types of ACL and MCL injuries, including tears and sprains.

There have been suggestions that knee injuries have gone up since the NFL cracked down heavily on hits to the head and neck area. While there have been several high-profile hits to the knee that sidelined players — New England tight end Rob Gronkowski, for example — the league-requested survey of this year’s injuries does not indicate a trend toward increased major knee problems through 13 weeks.

Earlier this week, Patriots coach Bill Belichick claimed injuries were up. He didn’t cite specific numbers, but said it was “a matter of record not opinion” that injuries league-wide have been on the rise over the past three years.

Belichick blamed a decrease in the number of offseason, preseason and in-season practice sessions and workouts allowed as a main contributor to higher injury totals.

League spokesman Michael Signora disputed Belichick’s assertions.

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