OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco still doesn’t know exactly when he’ll be back on the practice field, but the goal of being ready for the start of training camp remains in his sights.
Less than five months after undergoing surgery to repair the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee, the 31-year-old is running — not yet at full speed — and says he feels little tentativeness except when trying a new movement for the first time in the long rehabilitation process. But he also understands the need to be cautious, wearing a brace as he continues to strengthen the knee and always focusing on the big picture of being ready for the start of the season.
“I feel good. I’m getting better and better,” Flacco said. “I still feel improvement week to week. We’ve never really set a timeline out and said I’m going to be back at ‘this point,’ but I think it’s still going really, really well. Over the past three weeks, I’ve started to feel some big improvements so, I feel good about it.”
With the Ravens beginning their offseason workout program on Monday, Flacco joked about how much quieter it was in the team’s training facility in Owings Mills all offseason when it was just him and a handful of others rehabbing from injuries. He also admitted that the first couple days of meetings have felt redundant as he will start consecutive seasons with the same offensive coordinator, Marc Trestman, for the first time since his first five NFL seasons with Cam Cameron, a positive in overcoming his anticipated absence during spring organized team activities.
But Flacco knows he has much work to do in order to be ready when training camp opens in late July.
“I can do everything pretty much,” said Flacco, who cited how much work must be done to the rest of the body to get in sync with the knee. “It’s just a matter of how well I can do it and do I have a little limp here and there. We do little agility [drills]. It’s not like I’m running full speed and cutting on it and things like that, but I’ve got a good amount of things that I’m allowed to do. I go out on the field and run, wear my braces and all that good stuff.”
Asked about his level of apprehension with his front leg when throwing, Flacco acknowledged that he hasn’t done much passing, but he is moving closer to the time when he’ll be picking up a football more frequently. For the time being, he’s been playing catch here and there from about 15 yards.
Flacco looks forward to the time when he’ll be able to air it out to get a better feel for newcomers such as speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace and veteran tight end Benjamin Watson, but he isn’t overly concerned if that doesn’t happen before late July.
It’s apparent where the Super Bowl XLVII MVP’s head is as it relates to being back on the football field.
“At the end of the day, training camp is going to be enough time,” Flacco said. “I’m pretty sure I’m probably not going to get a ton of time before that, so that’s going to be enough time. You’d like to get as much as you can, but that will be plenty to get going.”