Rehabbing defensive end Adam Carriker remains encouraged by his progress and despite the fact that a long, challenging road lies ahead of him, he maintains that he has âno doubtâ that he will play football again.
Carriker missed all but two games last season with a torn right quadriceps tendon, had a setback that required a second surgery in January, and then had to have a third surgery on the area at the start of training camp. He made a rare open locker room appearance on Thursday and discussed his progress.
Carriker moved gingerly as he entered the locker room, but said that he had just completed one of his better rehab sessions after a trying day on Wednesday. For the last two weeks, Carriker has been able to run on an underwater treadmill. Initially, the water level stood at chest level and it has gradually lowered since.
Carriker continues to work to strengthen the quad/knee area and improve its range of motion. He said the goal is to get 120-degree range of motion, but that remains impossible without first going through 20 minutes of stretching exercises.
âThe key thing is, Iâve got to be able to pop out of bed at 2 a.m. and be able to get there on my own, and thatâs what weâre working for,â Carriker said.
Asked to outline a day in his life, Carriker offered: âI get here about 8:30, I work with Larry for about two hours, then I usually get done working out about [11:15], and then I go home. Theyâve got a CPM machine that just moves my leg for me. I do that for a couple hours, and then I go to an independent rehab facility and work with a guy there, and thatâs where I was all of camp while the team was in Richmond. He works on my motion and strength, and then I go home and work on the machine a couple hours again. When I say seven, eight hours a day, people look at me like Iâm lying or full of crap, but come spend a day with me. This is what Iâve got to do to get better, and to me itâs worth it.â
Carrikerâs initial injury took place early in the second game of Washingtonâs 2012 campaign. He declined to say what kind of a setback he suffered in the winter, but said that the third surgery was needed because he couldnât get the proper range of motion through rehab and doctors âhad to go in and release some stuff.â
No return date has been set for Carrikerâs return, but he says his goal remains some point this season.
âMy target is as soon as possible,â Carriker said. âItâs an interesting situation where Iâve had the three surgeries. They just see how I progress and react to that rather than have a set protocol that we follow. So far, itâs been going well.â
Carriker has been somewhat of a guinea pig because his doctors said they hadnât seen a case similar to his before. That makes for an even greater mental challenge, Carriker said, because he doesnât have a timeline to compare his progress to.
But he remains determined to come back from the injury even though some people have told him he should retire.
âIâve had some family members and people that are really close to me â and my sisterâs a physical therapist, and thatâs her first thought, that âyou should be done. Blah, blah, blah, blah,ââ Carriker said. âI think what they donât realize and understand is that this is all Iâve ever known. My first memory is of T-ball and trying to have the most home runs in the league. Itâs another thing I thrive on. Three surgeries, when I come back, how awesome will that be. To me thatâs what drives me and I donât want to stop.â
Carriker seemed upbeat, but admitted there have been days, such as Wednesday, when he was seen hobbling very slowly out of Redskins Park after a challenging training session.
âThereâs been times, Iâve said it before, Iâve cried like a little girl and thereâs been times when I take my Louisville Slugger and weâve had to replace a few items in my house,â Carriker said. âBut youâve got to do what youâve got to do. You grind through the tough days, and on a day like today where I feel really good, you just kind of ride with that and keep going with it.â
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