Lichtensteiger tore both the ACL and MCL in his right knee in the Redskins’ fifth game of the season. Washington entered that game with a 3-1 record, and had received strong play from the line. But with Lichtensteiger lost for the season, and fellow starters Jammal Brown and Trent Williams in and out of the lineup, the Redskins’ line struggled and Washington went 2-10 thereafter.
Lichtensteiger had surgery on Oct. 25, and hoped to return to action by the start of the 2012 training camp. But he admits he had his doubts, even this past spring, when he still was experiencing problems with the knee.
But Lichtensteiger’s concerns were laid to rest Thursday, when he went through the first practice of training camp without a setback.
“October was the last time I played football. Got the surgery, didn’t really know what was gonna happen,” Lichtensteiger said Friday. “It was pretty rough for a while. I know the initial stage of my rehab, I was thinking, ‘Man there’s no way this is ever gonna feel the same way again.’ OTAs, it felt OK, and I was pretty glad that I didn’t practice a whole lot. I’d go out and do some conditioning, and the knee would really stiffen up for the rest of the practice. But, so far in camp, it feels great. I feel like in the last month-and-a-half, I’ve taken some huge strides, and it just takes time.”
Williams said Lichtensteiger’s return is a much-welcomed development. He described it as, “like putting on your favorite pair of shoes again.”
Lichtensteiger said being flanked by Williams and center Will Montgomery once again gives him confidence that Washington’s line – the left side in particular – will have a standout season.
“For me, having Trent to my left and Montgomery to my right, it’s huge,” Lichtensteiger said. “I’m not saying we wouldn’t be able to function without them, or if a starter goes down. But I think we have a great offensive line with the starters right now, and the fact that we’ve played together for a while is big.”