|05-18-2005, 06:20 PM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Arcadia, CA
Walls ready to go; no practices today
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Itching to Go
By Andrew Mason
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- After five and a half months of rehabilitation, conditioning and weightlifting, anything different is good for cornerback Lenny Walls.
BRONCOS TV: CLARETT'S FIRST PRACTICE
The need for regular rehab sessions with the Broncos' athletic training staff kept Walls from being able to take the standard break of two-plus months that leads into the commencement of offseason workouts in early April; even the offer of a trip to Hawaii during Pro Bowl week with his fellow defensive backs was declined when he chose to focus on recovering from the surgery that followed the third of his shoulder dislocations last fall.
"I'm real anxious. It's crazy," Walls said. "My offseason has been all football, all rehab. I'm probably more focused than I've ever been."
So when the Broncos donned practice jerseys and worked together Monday for the first of the team's 14 organized-team-activity sessions, the moment was worth a celebration for Walls. A different workload, some different teammates, and -- for the first time since Nov. 28 -- a chance to play football.
"It's fun to see everybody, all the new faces, the rookies, the new teammates," Walls said. "You've been working with Tut (strength and conditioning coach Rich Tuten) and putting in all those sweaty days, lifting running and conditioning. It's always good to get out and play football. It takes your mind off every other problem in life you've got."
Walls' recovery from the early December surgery is still not complete, although the end is in sight.
"(I'm) not completely free," he said. "It's something I've got to stay on top of, but I definitely feel good. I feel good about the surgery. I feel good about the season. I think I'll be 100 percent."
For the past few months, Walls' victories have been far from the thrilling kind of one-on-one receiver-vs.-corner duels on the football field. Getting an interception or breaking up a pass wasn't the goal; merely restoring the range of motion in his shoulder was the target -- and an especially vital need given Walls' penchant for using his size and wingspan to bat away footballs.
"I can get my arm all the way back 180 degrees flat on a table," Walls said. "When I started my rehab I could barely get to 110."
After Walls regained full rotation in his shoulder, he began hitting the weights -- and working on a goal he publicly expressed in February -- to add several pounds to his listed playing weight of 200.
"I just started lifting weights a month or so ago," Walls said. "A lot of it was getting my motion back and getting my arm back full trength so now I can move it in the directions I need to move it. Now it's about keeping it storng and that's what I'm doing right now.
"I'm doing every drill (in practice), so I feel pretty confident about it and I just want to play."
With Kelly Herndon gone to Seattle as a restricted free agent and a trio of draft picks joining the mix at cornerback, Walls will have that opportunity.
"I'm going to miss Kelly a lot, but it goes to show that obviously they think I can be a good player and a big-time player in this league," Walls said. "Now I've just got to prove them right."
It helps that doctors have told Walls that there is less than a 10 percent chance that he will ever dislocate the surgically repaired shoulder again.
"It's a shoulder injury," Walls said. "At my position, God forbid you tear an ACL or something like that. My legs are fine. I just have to keep my shoulder stable, and I'll be fine."
And even if other injuries strike Walls, he'll be better equipeed to handle them after playing through the discomfort engendered by the shoulder problems throughout 2004.
"I don't mind playing with a little soreness or pain, just as long as (the shoulder) doesn't come out," he said. "I was playing at 80, 75 percent with a harness on my arm and when the lights came on to play Sunday night, it didn't matter."
CAMPING OUT: Wednesday was the Broncos' lone off-day during quarterback camp. The team resumes practice on Thursday and Friday mornings, then practices from Nonday through Thursday of next week.
|05-18-2005, 07:27 PM||#3|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Hot Springs, Ouachitah
Excellent. I'm not a big Walls fan because it has to be so tough to play corner at that length, but alot of times, a surgury makes you stronger, if you can believe it. Alot of Pitchers come back with a better fastball after Tommy John surgury.
I'm more worried that Middlebrooks knee isn't responding. Seems quiet. Too quiet. Wabbit said his knee still isn't right.