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Suggs runs high risk if he tries to play on partial tear

During a nine-year career that's established him as one of football's premiere defenders, Terrell Suggs has become known as Superman in a No. 55 jersey for the Baltimore Ravens.

Unfortunately, Suggs found his kryptonite Saturday in the form of a torn Achilles' tendon suffered during a private workout in Arizona. It's an injury that almost always costs an athlete a year of his career, but Suggs is determined to become an outlier.

"That's just going to make it so much sweeter when I run out of that tunnel and prove everyone wrong," Suggs told ESPN's Rachel Nichols on Thursday.

Suggs' attitude is hardly a surprise considering the competitor he is. The five-time Pro Bowl player has missed just three games since coming into the league as a first-round pick out of Arizona State in the 2003 draft. He believes he can return by midseason because he only partially tore the tendon.

"I've never had a real bad injury before," he said. "Sometimes you have to go through something like this to make you better."

Suggs' lack of experience might explain his optimism. Mike Evangelist, clinical director of JAG Physical Therapy in Warren, N.J., told Around The League that Suggs would run an extremely high risk of completely rupturing the tendon if he attempted to rehab then play with the partial tear.

"With a football player like Suggs, there's so much load when he tries to explode off the foot," Evangelist said. "There's a very strong chance (the Achilles) would pop."

Evangelist said it's likely doctors will advise Suggs to undergo surgery now and turn his attention to rehabilitation ahead of the 2013 season.

This would be a hard pill for Suggs to swallow, but it might be the wisest move to keep this setback from turning into a career-wrecking nightmare.

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