OWINGS MILLS – As far as Lardarius Webb is concerned, everything is positive in regards to his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
The Baltimore Ravens cornerback is running, albeit not at full speed yet.
He’s not in pain as he cuts and backpedals on the football field. And he’s not experiencing any swelling or setbacks as he recovers from a major injury to his right knee suffered last December while covering a punt against the Chicago Bears.
"I don’t even know the schedule to be ahead of the schedule," Webb said in his first interview with reporters this offseason. "I’m not ahead of schedule. I’m on schedule. I’m just listening to the doctor telling me when I can come back. I’m working on it, working on getting some strength back in my leg. It just takes time.”
So, when will Webb be able to play football again? That’s an elusive topic.
Webb thought he would return between seven and nine months from the injury.
That would mean he could be back anywhere from training camp to the end of September.
What isn’t in question about Webb is his dedication. He has consistently drawn praise from coach John Harbaugh for his determination.
He has only missed two days of workouts, and that brief absence was to attend a funeral when his grandfather passed away.
“I play football, that’s my life, that’s my career, that’s my job,” Webb said. “So if I don’t have my ACL, then I can’t do my job. I just wanted to get to work as soon as possible, and I’ve been here working ever since I hurt it. Sooner or later, I will be back.”
Webb, 24, estimated the overall health of his knee at 70 percent and said he’s moving at roughly 60 to 65 percent of his usual capabilities.
His typical day of rehabilitation begins at 7 a.m. at the Ravens’ training complex, working diligently with head trainer Bill Tessendorf.
“Everything I’m doing is slow, not trying to hurt it again,” Webb said. “No swelling. Bill T’s doing a great job with it.”
Webb says he isn’t dealing with pain, but does have some issues moving out of his cuts as he tries to redirect and places pressure on the knee.
“It’s not the backpedal, it’s not the run, it’s putting weight on it coming out of a cut,” Webb said. “You put a little weight on it more. It feels good, so I just have to wait. I have two or three more months until we get back out there and I want to be the best that I’ve ever been in my life. So, I’m working. I’ve got to do everything I can to possibly get back.
Webb’s progress isn’t only noticeable when he’s on the field.
His upper body, especially his chest and shoulders, are much bigger after an offseason in the weight room.
“I’ve gotten so much stronger,” Webb said. “I can tell in my body. I feel great. I can’t wait to get out there with my teammates.”
Webb started four games last season, appearing in 14 after being drafted in the third round out of Nicholl State.
He flashed his 4.38 speed when he ran back a kickoff for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos.
He also recorded 35 tackles, one sack and six pass deflections.
Webb is eager to begin playing cornerback again once his knee allows him to get back on the practice field.
He’s aware that he has to remain patient, though.
“I want to go right now,” Webb said. “It’s called a trick knee. So, it might feel good, but it ain’t always good.”
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.