|Greenway's knee is 'ready to go'|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 23 May 2007 13:31|
He has no pain in the surgically repaired joint and no limp left over from the months of rehab after tearing the ACL in his knee in the first game of last year's preseason.
In fact, as Greenway donned his helmet and practice jersey for the Vikings ``organized team activities'' this week, there are no signs he missed his entire rookie season.
Greenway is back on the field with his teammates, hoping to put behind a depressing and frustrating first season in the NFL.
``It's great to be back out here just running around and playing again,'' Greenway said Wednesday. ``These first two (days) have really actually been pretty good considering I've been out for eight months.''
The Vikings are so confident that Greenway is fully recovered from an injury that has ended many a career that they have already put him in the starting lineup on the strong side. The linebacking corps also includes E.J. Henderson in the middle and Ben Leber on the weak side.
``No real residual effects, it seems, from that surgery,'' first-year defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. ``These first two days, he's been moving very well. Yesterday I talked to him after practice, there was no soreness, no pain. He feels real good. Hopefully we can continue to see that type of positive work throughout. But so far, so good.''
Last year was agonizing for Greenway, who was so anxious to make his debut with the NFL team he grew up rooting for as a kid in tiny Mt. Vernon, S.D. After starring at Iowa, Greenway's dream came true when the Vikings picked him No. 17 overall in the 2006 draft.
He signed a big contract, got married and couldn't wait for his friends and relatives to see him in action in the Metrodome.
It all ended before it really started. He was injured while busting a wedge on the kickoff against Oakland on Aug. 14, and just like that, his season was lost.
``The biggest thing was just the mental hurdles you have to get over knowing that you can't be out there playing with your teammates and knowing you're not a part of it,'' Greenway said.
By December, Greenway was telling everyone who would listen that he was ready to get back on the field, an absurd suggestion given the severity of his injury.
``Greenway was actually ready to go in the middle part of last year,'' free safety Darren Sharper said. ``That's how quick his healing process was. ... I expect him to contribute a lot this year because he's a first-round pick and he has all the ability. He just needs to get out there and get some experience.''
The Vikings, of course, played it safe, not willing to risk the long-term future of a promising young player, especially during a dreary 6-10 season.
That future is looking a lot brighter these days.
``He has an infectious enthusiasm which I think overcomes a lot of that stuff,'' coach Brad Childress said. ``Is some of it going to be new for him and is he going to be experiencing it for the first time? Yeah, he's going to be experiencing some things for the first time, but he's a quick study.''
The Vikings aren't treating him with kid gloves anymore. He is participating in all of the drills this week and has no limitations.
``We want to find out what the limits are, if there are any,'' Frazier said. ``Right now, we're letting him go. There's nothing, so far, that says pull back. As long as he can go 100 percent and do everything we're asking, we don't plan on pulling back. Because he needs to find out for himself what he can and can't do. And this is a great opportunity for that to happen.''
Greenway said he is still working on strengthening the leg, but all signs point to him being 100 percent for training camp, which opens in late July.
``The only time I really thought about it was after practice yesterday, just wanting to see how it was going to react,'' Greenway said. ``I can tell that I've been doing enough work to get ready. I wasn't sore at all, no problems at all coming out here today. I feel really good and I hope it can continue.''