By Jonathan Okanes
Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 10:45 pm in Training camp.
The Bears had their second double-day practice of camp today, going in full pads in the morning and shells at night. Most notable was a chance to talk to tight end Tad Smith, one day after finding out his college career might be over because of a torn ACL in his right knee.
On crutches as he waits for his surgery scheduled for Sept. 1, Smith seems to be handling the news well. The fifth-year senior obviously is frustrated but seems to have already accepted the reality of the situation.
“It was just kind of one of those freak things,” Smith said. “A couple of guys went down and I got rolled up into the pile. My knee just kind of buckled. I had a good idea that it wasn’t good.”
Smith knows what it’s like to tear an ACL. He did the same to his left knee during spring practice in 2006. He also had just healed up from a broken scapula he suffered during spring practice just a few months ago.
“It was kind of surreal,” Smith said. “I had just come back from another surgery. I fought so hard to rehab my shoulder. It really wasn’t anger. There isn’t anyone to be mad at. I just couldn’t really believe it happened.”
Smith said he hasn’t had much time yet to think about possibly petitioning for a sixth year of eligibility, but it is something he definitely will consider.
“It’s definitely an option,” he said. “I love football. I love this school. I can’t get away from this team. I’ve come back from a lot of injuries to be with these guys out on the field and the meetings and all that. I love it. Being able to come back would be a great thing.”
–Had a chance to talk to Jahvid Best after today’s morning practice. Best is slowly doing more and more each day. During the 20 minutes we were able to watch at the beginning this morning, Best was out on the field jogging and catching passes during drills. This is something he hadn’t been doing for the previous few days.
Best said he is almost 100 percent and felt like he could have taken some reps today. He said he expects to get some reps in the next day or two.
“Now it’s almost back to 100 percent,” he said. “I’m not feeling too much of anything.”
The season is only a little over two weeks away and Best still has only taken a few hits in full gear since the Emerald Bowl. He said he’s not worried about the lack of activity.
“If the first couple of hits I take are against Maryland, I’ll be ready,” he said. “I think I’ll take some hits before then. They just want to take the safe route and make sure I’m ready for the season.”
Tedford said: “He needs some reps before he plays. He has to get in there and experience what it’s like and get the feel for it back. We’re working hard on the sidelines with him as far as ball mechanics and things like that.”
–Thursday marked the end of the second week of camp, and Tedford gave the following progress report: “We have a lot of work to do. I’m happy with the focus and the intensity, but we have to get better in a lot of areas. All areas.”:
–In injury-related news, wide receiver Alex Lagemann missed another day with a bruised quad, but tight end Spencer Ladner and wide receiver Quinn Tedford returned to practice in full capacity.