Despite continuing to say he tore his right Achilles tendon during conditioning drills, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs injured his right lower leg playing basketball on Sunday, April 29, according to staff members who attended a three-day basketball tournament in which Suggs played that weekend.
"He got hurt Sunday prior to the [basketball tournament] championship game," said Herman (Sonny) Hoffman, the director of the Akchin Gymnasium in Maricopa, Ariz., where the tournament was held.
Asked if he believed that was when Suggs injured his Achilles, Hoffman said: "More than likely it was. My staff saw the whole incident. It was the condition you'd describe for a torn Achilles. He had no movement, no step, and it swelled up right away."
Hoffman was in charge of filling out an incident report related to the injury and inquiring if Suggs needed emergency medical services. Suggs declined help and left the gym.
Asked again how sure he was that Suggs tore his Achilles at that moment, Hoffman said: "Well, I have other staff members that told me the same thing. The people who were scorekeeping, keeping the books, running the clock, they all said the same thing. He did it during the game. It looked like he stepped wrong. There was a collision, and he stepped wrong, possibly on someone's foot. It was either the Achilles or the ankle because it was in that area. After that, he left and didn't play."
When told Tuesday of the comments by staff members at the basketball tournament, Suggs told ESPN through his agent, Joel Segal: "Simply not true. I hurt myself doing my conditioning test."
On May 3, ESPN first reported that Suggs suffered the injury playing basketball, but then conflicting reports emerged. ESPN reported later that day that Suggs, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, said he suffered the injury while doing conditioning work.
"I was watching 'SportsCenter,' and they said he did it during a conditioning test, and I said, 'What? What's going on here?' " said Adam Bowman, who also works at the Akchin Gymnasium and attended the tournament in which Suggs played. "And then to lie about it ... "
When asked for a reaction to the witnesses' account of Suggs' injury, a Ravens spokesman told ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley: "Our only concern is getting our players ready for the season, and that includes working with players who are currently injured."
Privately, the Ravens have maintained the team would not withhold payments from Suggs, no matter how he was injured. But when the Ravens report to minicamp Wednesday and training camp this summer, Suggs' injury will be a topic of discussion.
Suggs, 29, told The Baltimore Sun on Sunday night: "I wanted to make sure that championship game was going to be played in Baltimore, so I didn't take any time off. After the last game, I left Baltimore and came to Phoenix and started training again. I think the injury is a result of me pushing too hard. I'm not 23 anymore. I'm not 30, either, but there are times you have to back off."
Suggs rarely has refrained from playing basketball in the past and, according to league sources, has a reputation for playing often in the offseason.