Photo by AP/Alex Brandon from

Week 2 was an unfortunate one for New York sports fans. In addition to a tough loss to NFC East rival, the Washington Football Team, the NY Giants also struck some hard luck when Nick Gates suffered a gruesome leg injury early in the game. Gates, team captain and starting offensive lineman for the Big Blue, was injured while pass blocking when another player rolled up onto his ankle. He underwent surgery on Friday.

We are here to provide the perspective from the physical therapist on what to expect in the upcoming months with Nick’s recovery.

The PT Perspective

Gates’ injury was a fracture to both bones of the lower leg, the tibia and fibula. While bones are very strong against compressive forces (like jumping or standing), they are not nearly as resilient against lateral forces, such a player rolling onto your lower leg.

The prognosis for an injury like Gates’ is dependent on several factors. It was clear from television footage that the fracture was displaced, meaning the bones shifted after breaking. As we’ve seen in the past with the injuries of QB Alex Smith and NCAA QB McKenzie Milton, if the fracture caused damage to any of the surrounding soft tissue structures or punctured the skin leading to infection, the recovery can be much more complicated.

Surgery to treat a tibia/fibula fracture involves placing hardware in and around the bones to stabilize the injury while allowing the bony tissue to heal. His rehabilitation following such an injury will likely include exercises to restore range of motion and overall strength, and eventually advancing to dynamic balance, proprioception, and plyometric exercises. Although the road ahead is just beginning, it was encouraging to see Gates up and walking the day following his surgery.

One thing is for sure, Nick Gates is as tough as they come. And while the absence of the starting guard will be surely felt, we know that Nick will continue to lead his team on from the sideline! We wish Nick the best of luck in his recovery and healing.


Learn more about EXCEL’s history of treating professional athletes here.