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WT: Redskins’ Jarvis Jenkins aches to return Rookie started down road to recovery before season began (M.E.T.)


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Man, if he is anywhere as good a player as he is determined we might have something special on our hands.


Redskins’ Jarvis Jenkins aches to return

Rookie started down road to recovery before season began

The pop still echoes through Jarvis Jenkins’ mind. Three months couldn’t quiet the sound that seems as fresh as the bright scar that works its way up his right knee.

Oh, Jenkins tries to forget the noise that exploded from his knee that August night in Baltimore. He wants to rid himself of the memory of his 310 pounds crumpling to the turf at M&T Bank Stadium, the pop screaming that his anterior cruciate ligament was torn, his meniscus damaged and his rookie year with the Washington Redskins over before it reached the regular season.

Jenkins wants to keep the mental replays in the past, along with the crutches and tears. The next time he steps onto a football field, the next time he cuts, the knee will be stronger than before, Jenkins promises himself.

Six daily rehabilitation sessions at Redskins Park starting at 7 a.m. wiped out his limp. Runs on an anti-gravity treadmill, knee squats and fights to be patient and obey the training staff’s orders to bend his knee only 40 degrees when he swears he can do 90 degrees carry him further from that Baltimore night.

Jenkins tries to block those memories, then admits in his next breath he’ll never be able to forget the moment that plunged him into the NFL’s shadow world of injury rehabilitation.

Washington Redskins rookie defensive end Jarvis Jenkins lifts weights at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va., as part of his rehabilitation from a torn ACL. Jenkins promises his injured right knee will be stronger than ever by the time the 2012 season rolls around. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Four minutes and 40 seconds into the first quarter, the Ravens’ Ray Rice ran 6 yards off left guard. As Jenkins grabbed at the running back, his knee buckled. There wasn’t contact. Just Jenkins suddenly on the turf, then limping off with a tear-streaked face.

Left in the locker room that night, the 23-year-old Jenkins wondered, “How the hell did this happen to me?”

He thought about Clemson, where close friend Da’Quan Bowers, in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, got the sacks and attention. Jenkins handled the defensive line’s dirty work. In April, the Redskins selected him with the draft’s 41st pick. The news left Jenkins’ body limp. The third or fourth rounds were the best he hoped for. There wasn’t a dry eye among the 50 family and friends crammed into the Jenkins’ Clemson, S.C., home for a cookout.

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Gotta admit I wasn't real fond of the guy initially, it took me some time to warm up to him. But when I saw him on the field, that warmup happened fairly quickly. I can't help but wonder how much better our D would be with him in there this year. Would we be getting the pressure we need from the front that would help cover some of our shortcomings from the secondary? Can't help but wonder, could've been a whole different year with him in there. More front pressure, quicker 3 and outs, give up less scoring opportunities to our opponents... could've been a difference I guess, but it is what it is. Looking forward to having him back next year ready to go.

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I was pretty happy when we drafted this guy... I wasn't sure about how productive he'd be, but I was sure he'd be more athletic than any of our other front 3. At the very least, he'll be a good addition to our rotation next year. I'm banking on him to shore up our run defense woes. Goodness, next year, we get back Hankerson, Lichtensteiger, Jenkins, Cooley (hopefully), Hightower, and Buchanan.

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And we know he can play. Even better. You hate for an injury to happen, but that early in the preseason means he should be pretty well healed up by training camp.

To add my, err, well, you know:

Sometimes you see players have these kids of injuries later on in their careers and then they turn their careers around and have all-pro for their last few years on the field (Brees). Man, the kid is having that experience before even playing a real game.

He's gonna be a monster.

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Jarvis Jenkins played hard in preseason before his knee injury. He's a good lineman, and plays with the strength and power to collapse the middle of the offensive line. He was a steal in the second round and I'm surprised that Jenkins wasn't a first round selection. Once he fully recovers from his knee injury, he'll bounce back and be better than ever. Even if he has to start all over and begins next training camp 2nd or 3rd on the depth chart, he'll overtake Bowens or whoever else and reclaim his starting role.

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