After putting up this post on Brandon Tate as a comparison to Wes Welker, I asked myself last night if I could come up with someone with a similar timeline to a comeback from ACL surgery that Welker (at least to this point) has.
Rivers, you’ll remember, played in the 2007 AFC title game with a torn ACL, and had his knee reconstructed three days later, on Jan. 23, 2008. He actually said, prior to the surgery, “I’ll be back by training camp. And that wound being conservative — he was back on the practice field at a Charger minicamp on May 2 of that year. That’s 100 days even from Rivers’s surgery to his return to the field.
Welker’s surgery took place on Feb. 2 of this year. We first saw him on June 2, but the Patriots had an OTA day on June 1 as well, so let’s assume he made it out to that one, too. That makes 118 days from surgery to return to practice.
Both cases, of course, are remarkable.
What’s next? Well, I visited San Diego’s training camp the summer following Rivers’s surgery, and wrote extensively on his return from the injury, and he swore up and down, that August, that he was ready to roll. He didn’t miss so much as a preseason game, and wound up throwing for 4,009 yards and 34 touchdowns that fall.
Now, the challenges are much different for Welker, because it’s much more difficult for a receiver to come all the way back from such an injury than it is for a quarterback. But after we presented a bunch of evidence last week that says Week 1 is a real possibility for Welker (why his injury was less devastating than Tom Brady’s, where his return to practice puts him in his recovery, etc.), I think Rivers’s case brings even more reason for optimism.
And it’s an example that Welker might be able to reference too, if he so chooses — he and Rivers happened to be in the same class of Charger rookies back in 2004.