CINCINNATI — Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has been consistent with his message. He plans on being on the field when the team begins the 2021 season in September.
The 24-year-old suffered a torn MCL, ACL and other damage to his left knee in November. He had surgery to repair the injury on Dec. 2.
"Absolutely. That’s been the goal for me from the beginning. They say it’s a nine to 12-month recovery and the first game is exactly nine months from my injury. We are on pace to do it right now," Burrow said on Monday. "There is obviously a long road ahead and there are opportunities for setbacks along the road, but as far as right now, it’s looking as good as it could for where I am at in the rehab process."
Burrow returned to Cincinnati this week after doing his initial rehab in Southern California following surgery.
He already feels much better about things than he did right after the operation. He's walking regularly and doing body weight squats. The next few weeks will be about strengthening the knee. He could start running and throwing next month.
"That will be around week 10 to 12, when I start running," Burrow said. "That's kind of when the next phase of the rehab will start."
Burrow hopes to be able to throw in mid-February. He also plans on being able to run on the underwater treadmill, which alleviates pressure on his surgically repaired knee as he strengthens the muscles around the repaired ligaments.
He has a long way to go and admitted that his knee is around 15%. Burrow doesn't think he'll be back for the preseason and doesn't anticipate being able to throw to his teammates during any part of their offseason program—assuming they're in person and not virtual like they were last offseason.
The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner completed 65.3% of his passes for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions in 10 games as a rookie. He gave Bengals fans a glimpse of his potential. Now he's focused on strengthening his knee and being ready to go for Week 1.
"It's kind of all downhill from here. There's a lot of milestones to hit and a long road ahead," Burrow said. "It's not going to be painful or anything like that. The worst part is over, and the fun part begins."
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