The Indianapolis Colts’ hopes of regaining the top spot in the AFC, much less the NFL, largely hinge on star defensive end Dwight Freeney’s recovery from left foot surgery.
Freeney’s 2007 season consisted of only 3.5 sacks and was cut short after Week 10 due to a Lisfranc foot injury. That injury generally takes between 9-10 months from which to recover, but reports are that Freeney is ahead of schedule.
Freeney is a three-time Pro Bowler and the Colts’ all-time sack leader, so his return can’t be overstated. But he has been told to be patient – there’s even a chance he could open camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list until getting “full go” medical clearance.
“It is a challenge because I’m not used to, ‘Alright, Dwight, you have to take your time. You’re not going to be 100 percent as soon as you get back out there.’ If I’m running on the field, it’s like, ‘I’m ready to go now. I’m ready to cut now. I’m ready to do this bag drill now,’ and they have to hold me back.
“It’s different from that perspective, but as far as a mind state of me doing the spin move and things like that, when I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go. There’s no holding back.”
The former star has 60 sacks in six NFL seasons, registering double-digit sacks in each of his first four NFL seasons – 13 in 2002, 11 in 2003, 16 in 2004 and 11 in 2005. He faced constant double teams and extra attention from tight ends and running backs last year but still was productive despite only 3.5 sacks.
He limped off the field during Week 10’s game against , and his season and the Colts’ repeat Super Bowl hopes were over.
Freeney finished the season with 34 tackles, 29 solos, and despite missing the last seven games of the season, led the Colts with 19 quarterback pressures.
Don’t expect to see Freeney in any preseason games, but he is making steady progress under Dave Porter, one of the nation’s foremost foot doctors, and expects to suit up Week 1 against the Bears.
“I’ve got another month to get the foot back,” Freeney says. “Obviously they’ll be holding me back a lot during training camp. … But I’ll be ready to go when the season starts in September.”