I had a long conversation with left tackle Mike Tepper after practice and it doesn’t appear he will be playing anytime soon.
Tepper, recovering from offseason surgery on his left pectoral muscle as well as a hamstring strain, said the original timeline he gave for himself to come back was too aggressive. Tepper said at the beginning of training camp he expected to be back near the beginning of the season, but doctors had told him it would be a six-month recovery from the time he had the surgery in May. Tepper said he simply thought he was a fast healer and would be back sooner.
“I thought I could speed it up,” Tepper said. “I thought I was a quick healer. It’s taking longer than I wanted it to.”
Tepper said he thought he was a quick healer after coming back from a serious ankle injury in 2005 when he was run over by a car twice while trying to protect a female companion, former Cal volleyball player Camille Leffall.
“They told me I wouldn’t be able to run again. I’d be lucky to walk,” Tepper said. “That was a pretty serious injury. So I thought I was a quick healer.”
Tepper said he realized he was behind schedule midway through training camp when he had fellow offensive lineman Matt Laird walk around him and Tepper tried to grab him. Tepper said he had spent his rehab working on the common technique of keeping his elbows in because that’s what the majority of his duties call for. But there will be times when he has to extend his arms to contend with a defender on his outside.
“As soon as I got outside, it wasn’t good,” Tepper said. “It wasn’t strong enough. In football, we try to keep our elbows in. I can do that really well. But I’ll have to (extend his arms) a couple of times a game. I knew I wasn’t ready.”
Tepper gave no timeline on his return, other to say he’s confident he will play again this season. He had the surgery in May, so a six-month recovery would put his return in November. Tepper will get some bonus time soon because the Bears have two bye weeks during the next month.