Injured Washington Redskins guard Kory Lichtensteiger made his way around the locker room on crutches Wednesday, with a bulky brace on his right knee. Lichtensteiger had surgery on the knee Oct. 25, and said that he has a long recovery ahead.
On Washington’s sixth offensive play of the game, Rex Grossman threw an interception and soon after the ball was intercepted, Eagles’ defensive end Darryl Tapp hit Lichtensteiger, knocking him to the ground.
“You couldn’t see it on film, so all I can go off of is the split-second in my mind before the pain set in,” Lichtensteiger recalled. “I just kind of planted on it weird and he tried to kind of throw me off. I tried to engage him. I saw him wheeling back to block me on the interception and I knew he was going to try to hit me so I said, I’m going to go try to hit him first. As soon as I hit him, I just planted awkwardly on it and he threw me right into it and torqued it inside.”
Following the game, some of Lichtensteiger’s teammates said that Tapp’s hit on the guard was a dirty play, but Lichtensteiger said, “I just don’t know. It all happened so fast for me and for me not to be able to back it up on film, I can’t say.”
The 6-foot-2, 292 Lichtensteiger said he knew right away that his season had come to an end on that play.
“It all snapped inside. My leg was kind of bent at a 90 degree angle to the inside,” he said. “I walked off OK and that was encouraging, but as soon as I got to the sideline and tried to walk on my own, it just kept buckling inside. I could tell there was no ligament in there holding it in place. I knew it was a season-ender.”
Doctors told Lichtensteiger that he can expect a recovery of six to eight months, which would put him back on the field in June or July.
Any injury is ill-timed, but Lichtensteiger’s hurt for a number of reasons.
The third-year pro took over as Washington’s starting left guard two weeks into the 2010 season. After a year of struggles as he converted from center to guard, Lichtensteiger had made significant strides this season. He seemed ready to solidify himself in the NFL as he played in the final season of his contract.
“That’s the toughest part. I felt like this was my year to do big things, contract year and everything, so it’s not great timing -- not like there’s a good time for any of this to happen,” Lichtensteiger said. “Hopefully I can get back and get healthy. I’m sure I can by next year, and I’ll try to get that spot back. … I was starting to feel comfortable and I thought I had most of the parts of my game working the best that I’ve ever played, so that adds to another level of frustration of getting cut down so early.”
The Redskins’ offensive struggles have increased since Lichtensteiger’s injury. They currently have original starting center Will Montgomery playing left guard and 2010 seventh-round draft pick Erik Cook, who spent all of last year on the practice squad, starting at center.
The Redskins also are without starting left tackle Trent Williams, who suffered a high ankle sprain later in the same Eagles game in which Lichtensteiger was hurt.