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Welker knew he was done

By Adam Kilgore
Globe Staff / January 13, 2010

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In his most extensive comments to date about his season-ending knee injury, Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker revealed yesterday why he became so emotional on the bench that day in Houston, covering his face in a towel and wiping tears from his eyes: He assumed his season had ended.

“I pretty much knew right when it happened that my season was probably over,’’ Welker said on WWLS, a radio station in his hometown Oklahoma City. “Then talking to the doctors, they let me know what they think probably happened, which I probably already knew what happened.

“It was kind of tough, especially that first 24 hours or so was rough. Once you came to the realization of what it was, it was just another obstacle that you were trying to overcome.

“All the texts, e-mails, and everything from everybody, just trying to lift your spirits. You just gotta move on from it and realize that you have a lot of work ahead of you to get back for the next year.’’

Welker did not have a timetable for his return and said he has yet to schedule surgery. Because both his medial collateral ligament and his anterior crucitate ligament are torn, he said, the MCL needs to heal before the doctors can operate on the ACL. (One doctor explained it like this: The ACL is in the middle of the knee, surrounded by fluid. That fluid keeps the tear from healing; think about what happens if you cut your finger and put it under a faucet. The MCL wraps around the knee, where there is little fluid, so it can heal on its own.)

While Welker waits, he feels the disappointment of the way his season ended and, more so, the way the Patriots’ season ended. He agreed when WWLS host Jim Traber brought up the Patriots failing to meet expectations with their humbling 33-14 loss Sunday to the Baltimore Ravens.

“Yeah, I definitely understand what you’re saying, especially when you win 17 or 18 games in a row, you kinda look at this team like we’re invincible and things like that,’’ Welker said. “This is definitely a down year for us, our standards and what we want to live up to.

“We were definitely a different team this year than what we were in the past. We had a lot of veteran guys that were a staple on this team that weren’t there anymore. You gotta fill that void somehow and that takes time. We definitely didn’t have the people in there to fill that void that we needed.’’

According to several doctors, the return for a wide receiver who suffers Welker’s injury will likely take 6-12 months.

The day after the loss to the Texans, Patriots coach Bill Belichick insinuated that the turf at Reliant Stadium was responsible for Welker’s injury, calling it “terrible.’’ Welker was not as strident but he did not absolve Reliant’s playing surface.

“Definitely, the field was rough,’’ Welker said. “It’s almost like I replay that play in my head so many times now. I remember taking that step and I was gonna kind of try and explode through, but with that field, I didn’t know if the ground was going to come out from under me, if it was going to give a little bit, or if it was going to stay firm.

“I remember in my mind thinking I didn’t know what was going to happen in regards to that. From there, my knee just buckled and it was what it was. I hate to bash it or anything, but it’s not the best field out there. There’s a lot of inconsistencies as far as being able to play on and things like that.’’

According to a league source, the Giants had yet to contact Patriots defensive line coach Pepper Johnson for their vacant defensive coordinator position. Johnson, according to a report last week in the New York Daily News, is interested and a candidate for the position. The Dolphins, who are run by Bill Parcells, Johnson’s coach when he played linebacker for the Giants, also have an opening at defensive coordinator after firing Paul Pasqualoni.

Adam Kilgore can be reached at akilgore@globe.com.

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