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 “no doubt” 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.
“The key thing is, I’ve got to be able to pop out of bed at 2 a.m. and be able to get there on my own, and that’s what we’re working for,” Carriker said.
Asked to outline a day in his life, Carriker offered: “I 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. They’ve 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 that’s 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 I’m lying or full of crap, but come spend a day with me. This is what I’ve got to do to get better, and to me it’s worth it.”
Carriker’s initial injury took place early in the second game of Washington’s 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 couldn’t get the proper range of motion through rehab and doctors “had to go in and release some stuff.”
No return date has been set for Carriker’s return, but he says his goal remains some point this season.
“My target is as soon as possible,” Carriker said. “It’s an interesting situation where I’ve 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, it’s been going well.”
Carriker has been somewhat of a guinea pig because his doctors said they hadn’t seen a case similar to his before. That makes for an even greater mental challenge, Carriker said, because he doesn’t 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.
“I’ve had some family members and people that are really close to me – and my sister’s a physical therapist, and that’s her first thought, that ‘you should be done. Blah, blah, blah, blah,’” Carriker said. “I think what they don’t realize and understand is that this is all I’ve ever known. My first memory is of T-ball and trying to have the most home runs in the league. It’s another thing I thrive on. Three surgeries, when I come back, how awesome will that be. To me that’s what drives me and I don’t want to stop.”
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.
“There’s been times, I’ve said it before, I’ve cried like a little girl and there’s been times when I take my Louisville Slugger and we’ve had to replace a few items in my house,” Carriker said. “But you’ve got to do what you‘ve 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.”
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