Massachusetts radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub has been told that Wes Welker will be cleared to participate for the first day of training camp. The Boston Globe reported Saturday that Welker, who had surgery on a torn left ACL in January, is healthy and ready to go.
Needless to say, this is nothing short of remarkable. The last big name player to recover so quickly from a torn ACL was Philip Rivers. But there’s a stark difference between Rivers and Welker. Rivers, being a quarterback, plays a stationary brand of football (so to speak). Most of his movement is in the north/south direction. He must plant on his knee, but he rarely has to plant and then move.
A receiver, on the other hand, is required to make frequent east/west movements, with explosive cuts after planting their foot. This is especially true for a catch-and-run magician like Welker.
Steelers Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson came back from an ACL within six months. As a corner, he was required to make those east/west movements. Woodson, however, only had to prime himself for one game (Super Bowl XXX against the Cowboys). The success of Welker’s return will be measured on his effectiveness over a five-to-six-month span. Because of this, expect the Patriots to bring Welker along slowly during training camp.
-- Andy Benoit
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