Cobbs And Crowder Getting Closer To Feeling Healthy
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Running back Patrick Cobbs and linebacker Channing Crowder can’t wait to shed the "injured" tag and return to normalcy on the football field, with Cobbs having to show a lot more patience than Crowder in terms of time.
Midway through the fourth quarter of Miami’s epic 31-27 come-from-behind victory over the New York Jets in Week 4 on Monday Night Football, Cobbs tore the ACL in his left knee after taking a hand-off from Brown on an end around in the Wildcat formation. He had already turned the corner and was trying to stay inbounds when he planted his left foot awkwardly and felt a pop. Immediate reconstructive surgery was required and Cobbs went on Injured Reserve for the first time in his four-year career.
“It makes you hungry, that’s for sure,” said Cobbs, who is one of Head Coach Tony Sparano’s favorite players because of his tireless work ethic. “When you have to sit around and watch 12 weeks of football and you’re not playing it definitely makes you hungry. It makes you want to play; it makes you want to get back as fast as you can.”
This was an entirely new experience for the soft-spoken and versatile Oklahoma native as he had made it through high school, college at North Texas and his first three seasons in the NFL with a virtual clean bill of health. Considering the Dolphins have used him on kickoff returns, as a gunner on kickoff and punt returns and as a receiver out of the backfield, his ability to avoid injury up to that night against the Jets was quite impressive.
Crowder, entering his sixth season, also prides himself on being in top physical condition, but he had been nicked up twice before during his career – a leg injury that ended his 2007 season shortly after Thanksgiving and a knee injury that kept him out of one game at Kansas City in 2008. When he felt a twinge in his foot during the Week 16 loss against the Houston Texans, Crowder knew something was wrong again, and he was right as it turned out he had a similar Lisfranc fracture in the middle of his right foot that Brown has.
“I feel good now. I’m slowly but surely getting into it and I’m going to be ready for July 30th and the start of camp,” said Crowder, who was practicing with limited restrictions during the final OTAs last month. “Until then I’m going to just keep working out hard and try to get my body into the best shape to try to help the team.”
Like Cobbs, Crowder is getting the itch to feel full contact again and know that he can contribute on the field in new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s defense without any hesitation because of his foot.
“This is definitely the time,” he said. “Especially after mini-camp when you’re out there dancing around and the offensive linemen think they blocked you and the fullbacks come flying through the line hitting you and you kind of look at them like, ‘Come on man. I would have knocked your darn helmet off if we were in pads.’ So that gets you going a little bit, too and your body starts getting ready and you start getting jacked up to go out there and play the game you love.”
Brown serves as inspiration for Cobbs after the way he recovered from the same type of knee injury two years ago to earn his first Pro Bowl berth. As soon as his surgery was completed and he was given clearance to begin his rehabilitation, the 5-foot-8, 205-pound speedster did not waste a single second strengthening the injured leg.
Now that training camp is getting closer, Cobbs is intent on being back to his old self, using the down time in between the final OTA and the opening of camp to work on his conditioning and focus on getting the knee right and stable.
“I’ve got a little further to go. Right when I think I feel good, I’m not back to my old self and there’s just no other way to look at it,” Cobbs said. “But I’m getting better every day and I feel like if we had a game tomorrow I’d be able to give it my all and go just as much as anybody else. The progress is going along well. I don’t have a timeline to when I’m going to be 100 percent but it’s definitely going well.”