By now, you all should be aware that a strain is a degree of “tear.” I would expect that the extent of the tear will be defined shortly with an MRI. Also, as you should all know, muscle tear recoveries are not always predictable. The best to be hoped for is a Class I tear, where the muscle is stretched causing some small micro tears in the muscle fibers. Full recovery typically takes approximately two weeks, because you want to rest the muscle and not try to stretch it while it continues to try to shorten (spasm). A grade II calf strain means that there is a partial tearing of muscle fibers. Full recovery typically is more prolonged and takes approximately 4-8 weeks. With a Grade III calf strain, considered a very severe strain, there is a complete tearing or rupture of muscle fibers in the lower leg. Full recovery can take 3-4 months and, in rare instances, surgery may be needed.
The Texans have referred to this as a “calf strain” and therefore, technically, you would assume that this was not just a simple short-lived spasm as seen in dehydration or deficiency states involving elements such as calcium or magnesium.
The problem with calf tears, like with most muscle tears, only somewhat moreso with this muscle group (gastrocnemius muscles and sometimes the soleus muscle), especially with not enough rest and rehab, is re-injury. In fact some sources note as high as 40% can result in re-injury to the same calf......or the other. And, of course as we all know, without proper healing time, compensatory injuries to other structures are also possible. Hopefully, tomorrow we get good news, and whatever the extent of the injury, Foster will be handled more conservatively and wisely than before with his hamstring injury(ies)....especially since a re-injured calf tear can become more of a very long-term chronic problem than with a hamstring re-injury.
[As one last note for completeness, due to the proximity/attachment of the calf muscles into the Achilles tendon, Achilles tendonitis can sometimes share some of the presentation seen with calf strains.....this should be able to be distinguished through the MRI imaging study.]
Believe it or not, my intent on this board is not ever to "scare," but only to inform. Over the years, I have been very impressed with the knowledge base that you have all retained and have also quite impressively been able to begin to recognize that injuries when they do occur are always "scarey"......especially when answers are not readily immediately available.