Rams running back Cam Akers evades a tackle by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw during the Rams’ overtime loss Sunday. Akers tore his Achilles in July, yet was able to play in the Rams’ regular-season finale. (Harry How / Getty Images)
The Hail Mary was caught in the end zone. The hook and ladder resulted in a touchdown.
Cam Akers is back.
Instead of the standard nine months to a year, Akers returned from a torn right Achilles in less than six months, in time for the Rams’ postseason opener on Monday against the Arizona Cardinals at SoFi Stadium.
The same Los Angeles-based surgeon who extended Tom Brady’s career might have salvaged the Rams’ season, as Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic improved a procedure he once used to repair Kobe Bryant’s tendon to ensure the dramatic return of the pass-catching running back.
As miraculous as this feels, ElAttrache insisted there was nothing supernatural about Akers’ comeback.
“I don’t want to come off as this mad scientist magician,” ElAttrache said with a self-effacing chuckle.
Rather, ElAttrache said, Akers’ recovery was the product of a confluence of factors — the evolution of surgery, advancements in rehabilitation and the patient’s determination.
“When you talk about those three things coming together, you get a special outcome,” echoed Reggie Scott, the Rams’ vice president of sports medicine and performance.
Injured in mid-July before the start of training camp, Akers was cleared to practice on Dec. 23. He played in the Rams’ regular-season finale on Sunday as a final tuneup for the playoffs, touching the ball eight times.
How quickly he returned, according to ElAttrache and Scott, could be directly linked to how quickly he underwent surgery and how quickly he started rehabilitating after the operation.
“For every day that you have decreased stimulation of the muscle, it takes two days to come back where you were,” ElAttrache said.
In other words, decreasing the…