Quinnen Williams of the New York Jets strained his calf muscle during the game against the Buffalo Bills on 12/11/22. The injury was significant and caused him to miss the rest of the game. This is concerning for the Jets highly ranked defense as Williams is having a career year on the inside part of the defensive line and he already had two sacks in the game against Buffalo prior to the injury.
The calf muscle consist of the gastrocnemius muscle and the soleus muscle. The gastrocnemius is the larger muscle that crosses the knee joint and the soleus muscle is deep to the gastrocnemius and originates along the tibia and does not cross the knee joint. Both muscle come together to form the Achilles tendon that helps for foot plantar flexion or push off.
A study on calf strains published in the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine in 2017 looked at the incidence of this injury on a single team over a 13 year period. There were 27 total calf injuries in 24 NFL players with defensive players being more likely to injure their calf. The majority of these, 74%, were isolated to the gastrocnemius muscle. The mean time to return to play was 17 days +/- 14 days. The larger the tear on the MRI correlated with increased time out of play. The estimate for Quinnen Williams return would be the Seahawks game on January 1st considering the game two weeks from now is on a Thursday night against the Jaguars which only gives him 11 days to recover. Robert Saleh was quoted after the game that Williams was day to day so hopefully his tear is minimal and does not hold him out as long as the average calf strain usually does.
“Acute Gastrocnemius-Soleus Complex Injuries in National Football League Athletes.” Orthop J Sports Med. 2017 Jan; 5(1)