Chris Cooley hopeful for Week 1

August 22, 2011

Tight end Chris Cooley says his injured knee is feeling better and he hopes he’ll be ready for the team’s season opener Sept. 11 against the New York Giants. But he concedes there are few guarantees with a knee injury.

“I’m so confident that I’ll be ready Week 1,” he said Monday. “Obviously, I haven’t dealt with this ever before. ...I would love to guarantee you that I was going to play Week 1, but I’m going to do everything I can to push for that date. I’m not at this point thinking Week 2, Week 3, Week 4. My mindset is completely to practice Week 1.”


(John McDonnell/THE WASHINGTON POST)

“My guess is it would’ve been taken care of earlier,” he said. “I feel like I would’ve probably had this same issue in OTAs or in our workouts and would’ve been able to take care of it earlier. But that’s not the case and I’m going with what I have now.”

Cooley said he last had the knee drained last week, and the swelling has gone down enough since then that he’s getting re-fitted for his knee brace. He explained that the pain hasn’t necessarily centered on the meniscus.

“The problem was over a long period of time, I was starting to bruise around it and the joint around it was becoming so irritated,” he said. “So, again, my thought process is that I wasn’t able to have the input through April, May, June that I would have liked to have and instead thought that I was going to push through it and make it better.”

Cooley says he’s not sure how his knee will respond when he resumes practice, but he knows it’ll probably be an issue he’ll have to monitor closely throughout the regular season.

“From people that I’ve talked to who’ve had similar knee issues, it’s something that you end up managing for a period of time, maybe two months, three months, a season,” he said. “Most of the guys I talk to, once they learn how to manage it, once they learn a proper workout routine for what works for them, it seems to dissipate over time.

“So if it’s this season that I manage it, it’s definitely hopefully by the end of the year I feel better -- and next season there’s almost no issue.”

Cooley has yet to appear in a preseason game and is not expected to play in the team’s final two. Without him in the lineup, the offense has looked impressive. It hasn’t always been easy to watch for a guy who has always practiced through minor injuries, bumps and bruises.

“The thing that eats at me is watching both the first game, the guys are having so much fun,” Cooley said. “I want to be a part of that. It’s been a long time since we’ve looked this good in the preseason. And it’s not because we’re over-gameplanning, we’re doing anything special. guys are just looking good, plays are fitting and it’s like everyone’s having so much fun. It’s hard to stand back and watch that.”

With the offense gelling, Cooley says he has a good feeling about the team’s fortunes this year.

“I think our first team offense has done a tremendous job,” he said. “The thing that I’ve noticed the most is the guys just seem to be on the same page. It’s not every play where we have everyone doing what we want, we’re still getting better. but there’s enough guys doing things the right way that we’ve really been able to move the ball.

“It’s just guys being in the system and guys understanding a system. And from there, getting better as individuals.”

Rick Maese is a sports features writer for The Washington Post.
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