A recent study looked at NFL players who underwent surgery over a 10-year period. The data measured included return to play, dropout rates and performance measures after a variety of orthopaedic surgeries.
Players who underwent a patellar tendon repair had the worst return to play rate, 50.0%. ACL reconstruction, Achilles tendon repair, and patellar tendon repair had significantly longer recovery times (378 days, 375 days, and 391 days, respectively). ACLR and patellar tendon repair led to significantly shorter careers after surgery than other procedures (1.6 years and 1.5 years, respectively).
ACLR, Achilles tendon repair, patellar tendon repair, and tibia nails for tibia fractures led to significant decreases in performance in postoperative season 1 compared with preinjury values. Of these, decreased performance in seasons 2 and 3 continued for players in the ACLR and patellar tendon repair cohorts.
Source: American Journal of Sports Medicine, published online June 16, 2016