Anderson Silva has come a long way in his recovery from the gruesome left leg fracture suffered in his second bout against Chris Weidman at UFC 168. He recently released videos showed him walking without crutches, as well as walking up a flight of stairs, all less than two months after the injury.
It now seems clear that Silva is intent on returning to the Octagon at some point. Today, a new video surfaced of him hitting pads. This brief Instagram video is notable for a couple of reasons.
First, you will note that his leg movement is minimal as he strikes the pads. However, notice the stance of his feet. He is starting to incorporate angular loading upon the left leg. Compare this to the videos linked above, where we viewed Anderson engaged in linear movement (straight line walking, walking straight up a flight of stairs). Angular loading represents an important functional progression in his rehab, and is the beginning point for rebuilding power in the legs, which in turn restores power to his strikes. More importantly, Silva will start to redevelop his sense of proprioception with the more complex angular loading through his ankle, knee and hip joints. (If you are interested in some deep science on the topic of proprioception, check this out.)
Second, in this screen capture from the video, you can see the dramatic difference in the muscle mass of the left calf (arrow) compared to the right.
Restoring muscle strength and mass to his calf muscles will be very important in the early phases of his rehab. Traditional resistance exercises will help, but activities such as that shown in this video are an excellent compliment to his exercise regimen. The process of weight shifting from the back to the front of the foot, and pushing off with the toes, will start to restore flexibility to the calf muscle and Achilles tendon, as well as restoring ability of the calf muscles to control movement of the ankle.
It's far too early to foretell when Silva will return to fight. If this video is any indication, his intentions are very clear that he will fight again.