Earlier this week we were informed that UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre suffered a MCL sprain that forced him to withdraw from his UFC 137 bout with Carlos Condit. Mike Fagan explained a little more about the injury yesterday and explained that, given trainer Firas Zahabi's timeline, it appeared that we should see a GSP return to the cage some time in the first few months of 2012.
In an interview with Sportsnet, GSP confirmed that exact target for his return:
"The recovery I want to do it well, I don't want to do it too fast. Because now I had an injury and I tried to train on it and maybe made it a little bit worse. I need a good four weeks to do my physio and do it right.
"I would say maybe end of January, possibly the beginning of February (for my return) ... Super Bowl, around this time."
It can't be stressed enough that a sprain is a ligament tear. For some reason there is a segment of the population that hears "sprain" and thinks this is something an athlete should compete through, see the reaction to Jay Cutler's second degree sprain in last year's NFC championship game. St. Pierre suffered a partial tear to a vital and structurally important part of his knee.
St. Pierre's is a grade one sprain which is good in terms of being a fairly short recovery but the biggest thing with muscle and ligament damage is to be careful not to rush back as you can end up doing more damage. To tie it back to the NFL again, we see running backs every year suffer high ankle sprains (sprains of the syndesmotic ligaments) and attempt to rush back to action only to re-aggravate the injury and end up on the shelf for even longer.
The UFC is in a bad position with one of their few major drawing stars out of action, I just hope they don't put any pressure on GSP and his team to rush back before his body is ready.