Nearly nine months after suffering a torn ACL and MCL in a game, Derek Carrier is nearing a return to the field to help contribute in an already talented tight end corps.
While there is no concrete return date for Washington Redskins tight end Derek Carrier, he is "feeling good" on his path back to the field after suffering a torn ACL and MCL in a December regular season game against the Chicago Bears.
"It's pretty open-ended," Carrier told Redskins.com of his current timetable. "I went down and saw Dr. James Andrews right before camp and that's what they said, basically. Everything is good structurally, it just needs time to strengthen that quad, and that's usually the last thing to come."
Carrier was acquired last August in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers after both Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen suffered season ending injuries.
The Beloit College product would start all 12 of his appearances for the Redskins in 2015, collecting 17 receptions for 141 yards and his first career NFL touchdown reception against the Atlanta Falcons.
But like Paul and Paulsen, Carrier would fall victim to the injury bug, placed on Injured Reserve in December.
While both Paul and Paulsen have returned to the field, Carrier remains on the sidelines and was placed on the Active/Physically Unable To Perform list last week.
"For them, going through the same thing -- a long injury -- and just attack the rehab and stay patient," Carrier said of the advice he received from both teammates. "You don't want to get down on yourself about the process because as soon as that happens your mind gets out of it, then you talk about the healing process and how that might slow down. But just try to stay positive about it and everything will get better."
It isn't uncommon for a player to feel slightly timid once back on the field, as an injured player may "feel a little weak and unstable" in the repaired area of the body.
Carrier wants to make sure that doesn't happen to him, though.
"I think you want to avoid that [being unstable] at all costs," Carrier said. "But like I said, I've never been in this position before so I'm just going on the advice of our strength and training staff, and just doing what they tell me to do."
But don't be surprised when Carrier plays like he never suffered the setback.
"Derek's one of the hardest workers on our team," Redskins tight end coach Wes Phillips said. "He's a gym rat. He's in there all the time, every day, he's really progressing well."