Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman was able to get back in the gym this week, taking his first positive steps in a return to the field as he recovers from a fractured rib.
A diving tackle. An awkward fall.
That's all it took for the Washington Redskins to lose one of their most vocal defensive leaders. While bringing down Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley in Week 4, Josh Norman fell on his right side. Slow to get up, he quickly headed for the sideline clutching his ribs. The six-year veteran cornerback later left the field to be examined by trainers. Before the game had ended, Norman had been ruled out with a fractured rib.
Eleven days later, Norman is still on the path to recovery, sitting out practices to work with trainers and letting his body rest.
Before Thursday, Norman seemed to be taking the recovery process slowly. However, three days before the Redskins take on the San Francisco 49ers, Norman entered the weight room to find out where he stood.
"It's a huge step just to get back in there and actually do some work," he said. "I was doing nothing for a week and a half, almost two weeks. Laying down, taking it easy, and now I get back in the weight room for the first time today. It was a big step for me."
Norman said he and his trainers did work on the treadmill, the elliptical and lightly worked out his arms and legs. While there was nothing too strenuous in his workouts, he said he realized there's still a long way to go before he's ready to see the field.
Norman, a fierce competitor and vocal leader, was unsurprisingly upset about having to miss a game for the first time since 2014.
Check out behind the scenes images from Cornerback, Josh Norman's 2017 Redskins Photo Shoot.
"I've played through all kinds of injuries, but this one has sat me down," Norman said. "It kind of like caught me a little bit, where I had to sit back and realize, 'Damn, this is kind of serious.'"
Norman's upper body has taken a beating this season. Since coming to the Redskins, Norman has suffered wrist and shoulder injuries as well, but he was able to play through them.
The latest injury to his ribs will have a significant effect on his speed due to the unfortunate placement. Norman said that since the fracture, it hurts when taking deep breaths.
"It's right on my lungs, so it's kind of tough," he said. "I'm not going to lie to you, sleeping is still tough, yawning all the time. Yawn and cough so much."
All he can do right now is focus on his lower body without straining his ribs or lungs. Norman said the next step will be to see if he can run without experiencing too much pain.
Always the optimist, he continued to look ahead in the season, anxious to get back out there and help his teammates.
"Maybe I'll start that next week, maybe, who knows?" he said. "Today really felt good. Today was a good day."