Ravens wide receiver David Reed caught the kickoff and saw a wide open hole as the third quarter began against Cleveland last Dec. 24.
He was 30 yards into his return and it looked like he would go the distance. Then his knee buckled and he fell. It didn't take long for Reed to realize what happened. He told reporters after Baltimore's 20-14 win over Cleveland that he'd be out for the rest of the season.
The next day, coach John Harbaugh confirmed Reed tore his ACL.
Since then, Reed's rehabbed the injury each day, arriving at the Ravens team facility at 7 a.m. to begin his workouts. The knee wasn't ready by the start of the 2012 regular season so the Ravens placed him on the physically unable to perform list.
But with the second week of the NFL season arriving, Reed said his left knee is almost healed, saying it's at about "98 percent." Reed expects to be back on the field when his stint on the PUP list ends.
"I had to start over from scratch on this leg," Reed said. "It kind of made it a lot stronger. I feel like this leg has no weaknesses. This (left) leg will be better than my good leg."
Drenched in sweat following a rehabilitation session, Reed said he could talk at length all day about the kind of workouts he's doing to get his knee back in shape. It's been a long grind but one he's excited to be done with.
Reed has shown flashes of potential in practice during his previous two years with Baltimore. A fifth-round draft pick out of Utah in 2010, Reed's shown he can be dangerous as a return specialist and that he can make plays in the open field on offense.
However, he has yet to record a regular season catch on offense, though he does have two end-around rushes for 31 yards. Reed also caught some heat after losing two fumbles on kickoff returns against Seattle that contributed to a 22-17 loss a season ago.
With Baltimore's receiving unit strong, Reed knows a competition awaits as his recovery nears its end. It will be tough for Reed to automatically reappear on the roster as one of the six receivers in the rotation once he's eligible to return.
"I'm going to give it all I got," Reed said. "I'm going to play receiver and I feel I got what it takes to play receiver. I'm going to be better than that, better than I ever was when I come back. I'm going to try and contribute any way I can. I'm going to try whatever I can to get back on this offense."
Reed's looking forward to being activated and having the chance to prove he belongs on the Ravens roster. So far, he's enjoyed watching his teammates participate in Baltimore's no-huddle offense. In Baltimore's season-opening 44-13 win over Cincinnati, eight different players caught passes.
Reed would like to be among them when he's able to play again.
"I love that Joe's spreading the ball around, everybody's touching the ball," Reed said. "Hopefully I can be another target."
Follow Ravens reporter Jason Butt on Twitter: @CBSRavens and @JasonButtCBS.