It's safe to say Crimson Tide fans let out a collective sigh of relief when quarterback Tua Tagovailoa returned to the football field to help Alabama beat the University of Oklahoma in the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 29. Not even a month before, the college sophomore suffered a severe high ankle sprain at the SEC Championship in Atlanta on Dec. 1.
The same injury befell fellow college quarterback Jalen Hurts during an October game in Knoxville against University of Tennessee. Hurts, a junior, missed only a couple of games before he was back the following month.
Typically, it takes six to 12 weeks to recover from a high ankle sprain, according to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain. He, along with Dr. Norman Waldrop, operated on both University of Alabama athletes at Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center in Birmingham.
The surgeons cut recovery time in half by using a minimally invasive procedure developed, manufactured and marketed by Naples, Fla.-based Arthrex.
It's called Knotless Syndesmosis TightRope Implant System.