Sav Rocca Has Continued Punting Despite Torn Meniscus In Right Knee
Sav Rocca has been punting with a torn meniscus in his right knee, Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said on Monday.
Rocca punted the ball for just 12 yards with 4:09 remaining in the second quarter of the Redskins’ 27-12 loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday, sending the ball off the right side of his foot. It was ruled out of bounds at the Steelers’ 45-yard line and allowed Pittsburgh to add three points before halftime with a 27-yard field goal on the next possession.
Shanahan was asked if the punt had something to do with Rocca’s technique or if it was related to the weather, with the game played in a steady rain.
“You know, I can’t answer that,” Shanahan said. “Sav knows that he can’t have a 12-yard net punt, and he has been very consistent. He’s the best punter I’ve been around since I’ve been in the National Football League, and he’s tough.
“A lot of players wouldn’t have been trying to punt in the condition he’s in with the torn meniscus, and he’s fighting through it, and he knows that he can’t make it any worse than it is, and I’m just hoping that there is no setback and it’ll heal for the rest of the season and he just keeps on punting at the level he’s punted for since he got here.”
Rocca had four punts for 151 yards against the Steelers, with the other three traveling 52, 41 and 46 yards in the air. The 46-yarder was nearly returned for a touchdown by Antonio Brown, who ran backwards into the end zone over the final 20 yards, but was called back on a penalty at the spot of the catch.
Rocca originally injured his right knee while running after practice on Oct. 17, though Shanahan did not disclose the extent of the injury at the time. It was enough of a concern for the team to work out three punters two days later should Rocca be unavailable to play against the New York Giants that weekend.
A former Australian Rules Football player in his sixth season in the NFL, Rocca is averaging 43.5 yards per punt this season – well in line with his 43-yard career average. His net punt average, which factors in the length of the opponent’s return, has dropped slightly to 36.6 yards, and he had two punts blocked earlier in the year because of breakdowns in protection.
“The doctors told him that it wasn’t going to get any worse, and he just decided to keep on punting,” Shanahan said.