Texans' Tight End Owen Daniels Happy with Post-Injury Approach
Daniels, the Texans' Pro Bowl tight end, has been cleared to return to practice next week after missing the last half of last season and this year's training camp with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
The news was met with enthusiasm this week.
"I heard Coach (Gary) Kubiak make a little announcement after practice (Wednesday)," Daniels said. "Guys were excited and everybody's telling me congratulations for being back. It's kind of a lonely process when you're going through something like that. Even though I'm around here I'm around the guys, but not necessarily working with them. I'm on the field by myself. I'm in the training room with trainers."
He also added, "To know that they're still behind me and they still love me. It feels really good."
Daniels, who made the Pro Bowl in 2008, was en route to perhaps his best season last season when he sustained his injury in early November. He missed the rest of the season, and spent the first few weeks after the injury considering surgery. He said he didn't like the advice of several doctors.
"We talked to about eight doctors from around the country to see what their opinion was in on the situation and about four or five came back right away to say, 'Put a screw in it,''' he said. "That was tough to swallow."
Birmingham, Ala.-based doctor James Andrews, one of the nation's most renowned orthopedic surgeons, disagreed with the early advice.
"Dr. Andrews didn't want to put a screw in it," Daniels said. "He wanted to see if it would go on its own right away. That's the route we took, and I'm glad we did that."
Daniels, whose presence is key to the balance of an offense that already includes quarterback Matt Schaub and perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson, is expected to return to practice Monday.
"It's going to be interesting," Daniels said. "It's going to be strange, but I can't wait. I don't know if I'll sleep Sunday night. It will be like my first day of football back when I was in the third grade."
And while players returning from ACLs often take a year to return to their pre-injury performance level, Daniels said he expects to play full speed quickly.
"I think that came with the doctors granting my medical release to let me go," he said. "I don't think that I'll be able to be the guy that I was even if I'm going to think about that type of stuff or worry about it happening again. I'm just going to go hard and play my butt off and hopefully it'll stay there. It should and I'm not in any greater risk now than anybody else out here. I'm just going to go with it."