It's been three months since Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has given an interview, and in that time he's been working hard on rehabbing his surgically repaired ACL and MCL, which he tore back in November.
All that work seems to be paying off already. In an interview with broadcaster and former Bengals receiver Cris Collinsworth on his Pro Football Focus podcast, Burrow gave an update on his rehab and revealed that he expects to be ready to play Week 1 of the 2021 season.
Burrow: I'm ahead of schedule
Burrow had reconstructive surgery on his knee in early December, which means he's about halfway through his nine-month rehab timeline. However, he told Collinsworth that he's ahead of schedule. He's been throwing a football for more than a week with a drop back, and he's progressed to throwing play-action passes to stationary targets. Burrow also said that he's running normally, though he hasn't quite combined that with throwing yet.
"I can't roll out and throw yet," Burrow said via the team website, but "it's feeling good right now."
If he can manage to avoid any setbacks, Burrow thinks he'll be fully ready for Week 1.
"I'm very optimistic about where I'm at and also where the team is at," Burrow told Collinsworth via Bengals.com. "Rehab is going very, very well and lifting is going very, very well. I'm in great shape. Legs feel good, knee feels good. There's still a long way to go, but I'm expecting to be there on the first snap of 2021.
"I'm expecting to play game one. I expect to take part in practice. I'm feeling really good. I'm ahead of schedule."
Burrow's injury stopped Bengals' progress
After the way Burrow's rookie season ended, his progress is great news. Especially since, as he told Collinsworth, the injury happened just as he and the team were beginning to gel on the field.
"In the NFL you see some crazy defenses you've never seen before, defenses teams shouldn't be able to play but they play them," Burrow said via Bengals.com. "I was getting comfortable with my checks in those situations. Numbers advantage. Rotation. Checking back-side routes. Checking three-man concepts to the field. We were starting to roll. I got hurt in the Washington game and we were playing the No. 1 pass defense in the league and we had 200 yards at halftime throwing [actually 195 yards]."
If Burrow starts the season not only healthy, but more familiar and comfortable with his role as an NFL quarterback, the Bengals could hit the ground running in Week 1. But the key there is "healthy." Burrow certainly feels good about where he is with his knee, but we don't know what the team thinks yet. After watching their rookie quarterback, their No. 1 overall draft pick, seriously injure his knee, they may be a little more conservative with him.
Regardless of whether he's ready to go Week 1 or a little later, all the updates are positive. His leg feels good, he's running normally, and he's started throwing. It's hard to hope for more from a guy who had major knee surgery just over four months ago.
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