It looks like all the golf is paying off.
Brandon Graham, the Eagles prize selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, says the rehabilitation of his surgically repaired right knee is actually running ahead of schedule (something we’ve heard before) and is hoping to be cleared for action sometime in September.
Andy Reid has already put the kibosh on hopes for a miracle, however, by assuring fans in no uncertain terms that Graham will not be ready in time for the season opener.
As someone who’s still rehabbing an ACL graft, 16 months after surgery, I can assure you the Big Guy is right. Graham’s ACL/meniscus tear befell him a mere seven months ago, and thanks to the lockout he’s been forced to recover from the surgery and restrengthen his right leg without the expert guidance of Rick Burkholder and the shiny, multimillion dollar gadgets at the NovaCare Complex.
But he is playing golf, and believe it or not that’s a good sign. Yesterday he told reporters he’s close to 100%, which is a shockingly positive sign after only 28 short weeks. But in order to play full-tilt professional football, to cut and spin and grab and twist and get lost in massive piles of tree trunk legs and sledgehammer arms, you need to be way beyond 100%. To prevent re-injury, every muscle in Graham’s right leg surrounding the replaced ligament needs to be stronger than ever. Which means he has to log hours and days and weeks and months of intense, grueling work in the gym.
He has to push three times as hard just to get back to zero again, and few players have to drive and determination to do so on their own, without the help of a professional-level training staff, in less than a year. We don’t know yet what kind of player Brandon Graham is, or what kind of player he may ultimately become. But if he finds a way to start this September, if he battles back on his own to regain the form we all saw coming out of Michigan, we’ll know one thing for sure: the guy is tough.