Nine Months After Knee Injury, Kory Lichtensteiger Returns At Full Speed
ASHBURN – When Kory Lichtensteiger woke up Friday morning, a day after the Washington Redskins’ first full day of training camp, he expected his surgically repaired right knee to twinge with shooting pains.
Instead, it was his whole body that ached.
“My knee feels pretty good actually, all things considered,” the left guard said. “Maybe it was the heat yesterday, but it was all I could focus on. I couldn’t catch my breath. It wasn’t anything else.”
Nearly nine months removed from tearing the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his knee in a game against Philadelphia on Oct. 16, Lichtensteiger participated in his first full-speed practice when training camp began on Thursday. He went through individual and positional drills during spring workouts and in minicamp, but was held out of team drills by the coaching staff until returning this week.
The injury wasn’t the sole reason why the Redskins lost 10 of their last 12 games, but it didn’t help. Head coach Mike Shanahan said last season Lichtensteiger was the team’s best offensive lineman at the time of his injury – their best run blocker and a competent pass protector who didn’t allow a sack while playing every down until he got hurt.
“It was crushing – the low point of my career by far,” the 6-foot-2, 284-pound Lichtensteiger said. “It was just shaping up to be a good year for the team and a good year for me individually, and you know, it kind of just all came crashing down at one point. Yeah, the lowest of the low for me.”
Lichtensteiger said it won’t be until the first preseason game against Buffalo on Aug. 9 until he’s fully confident in the knee. The Redskins will hit, but not tackle, during training camp, and he’s likely to be precautious about the knee until then.
“You can’t simulate a game, or even an NFL practice, in a walkthrough,” Lichtensteiger said. “When I got out there yesterday, there was still a little bit of hesitation at times, but as the practice went on, I realized, ‘Hey, this thing’s stable. It’s just as good as it was before,’ and I don’t feel like I’ve lost a step at all.”