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Posted at 12:46 PM ET, 11/17/2011

Tim Hightower begins rehab from ACL surgery

Washington Redskins running back Tim Hightower , who had surgery to repair his torn left ACL, calls watching his team’s struggles frustrating. But he vowed to pour his energy into recovering and returning back better than before.

Hightower suffered the injury on Oct. 23 in Washington’s loss to Carolina but didn’t have the knee operated on until Nov. 8. Redskins senior orthopedic consultant Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery, and Hightower began rehab the following day.

Tim Hightower is helped from the field after his Oct. 23 knee injury.
“Mentally, it’s still frustrating. But I think I’m in a lot better place than I was last week,” said Hightower, who at the time of his injury was Washington’s leading rusher, with 84 carries for 321 yards and a touchdown, along with eight receptions for 24 yards and a touchdown. “It was a long, long week. Playing sports for a long time, my respect level for guys that have had surgeries, have had injuries and come back at a higher level, my respect level goes up very much.

“Now I see an injury at the bottom of the screen and my heart goes out to them, because I know when it’s just you and that doctor, and they’re putting you under, you don’t know when you’re going to wake up,” Hightower continued. “You don’t have any control in your future, and it’s just kind of in God’s hands. But I’m in a better place now, and can actually start training and rehabbing and getting ready for next year.”

The recovery from reconstructive knee surgery generally takes around six to eight months, but Hightower said that he didn’t know how long doctors believe it will take for him to heal, because he isn’t concerned with their timelines.

“I don’t believe in timelines, man,” Hightower said with a grin. “You’re talking to the wrong guy. I’m going to give it all I have and I’m going to put as much emotion and passion into rehabbing my knee as I did playing football. I didn’t even ask for timelines because I don’t listen anyway.”

Hightower said helplessly watching the Redskins’ struggles has been nearly as torturous as the pain of his injury. Since the injury, Washington hasn’t been able to put together a consistent rushing attack, and now ranks 31st in the league in the ground game.

“That might’ve been one of the hardest things in a while,” said Hightower, who will be a free agent but wants to re-sign with Washington. “It’s been very hard. Just coming here, very excited to come here, feeling like I had a chance to revive my career and start something new with a program, and high expectations and then to not be able to – you kind of feel like you’re letting a team down. Kind of get everyone excited, ‘Hey, we’ve got a leader on this team. We’ve got a guy that can do some things.’ And all of a sudden it’s gone.”

By  |  12:46 PM ET, 11/17/2011

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