Pro Bowl strong safety Adrian Wilson turned in one of the more dominant performances I can recall from a defensive back during the Arizona Cardinals' victory at St. Louis in the 2010 regular-season opener.
Wilson finished the game with two interceptions, one sack and a blocked field goal. He broke on the ball impressively to claim one of the interceptions, a reminder of Wilson's explosive playmaking ability.
The Cardinals' season quickly deteriorated, however, and Wilson struggled badly in coverage. That explosive playmaking ability he showed in Week 1 became a memory as opponents repeatedly exploited Wilson in coverage.
Playing through a torn abductor muscle that required offseason surgery might help explain Wilson's rough season, at least to a degree. News of the injury, reported by XTRA910 radio's Mike Jurecki, should give Cardinals fans hope that Wilson's play will improve. Wilson appears regularly on Jurecki's show.
"If Adrian Wilson had enough damage to the abductor, it would decrease his power and speed because he is going to lose so much in lateral stability," ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell said. "Overall, his stability at the hip and pelvis was probably compromised. That would make him less precise and sharp in those maneuvers (turning his hips in coverage). I think a lot of it is loss of power in terms of vertical explosiveness and running straight ahead."
It's difficult to know how much the injury affected Wilson without knowing which abductor was damaged, and to what extent. An injury to the main abductor, the gluteus medius, would be more significant.
Standing on one leg can help illustrate the abductors' role in providing stability. Lifting the raised leg to the side puts direct strain on that leg's abductor. At the same time, the abductor on the other side provides the stability for balance and alignment.
"People with really weak abductors, we see them walk with this little bit of a limp, a sashay," Bell said. "Depending on which abductor is injured and to what extent, it could manifest itself differently."