GREEN BAY, Wis. – Allen Lazard knows when he suffered the core-muscle injury that required surgery and kept him out for six games.
“It was the 72-yarder I had coming out of the second half” in the Week 3 game at New Orleans,” Lazard said on Friday. “I think it was just because I wasn’t full warmed up yet. Looking back on the game, how we finished it in the second quarter, I think we were off the field for the last 5 or 6 minutes and then we had halftime. And then we came back out and then the third play of the series, I had that long (72)-yarder. Once I caught it and I turned, I was trying to run and I just couldn’t really feel my knees pick up and turn over they used to. So, we think that’s when it happened.”
Lazard also knows the exact moment when the significance of the injury became clear. At the end of his postgame Zoom call, he let out an agonized yell.
“I think that was the exact moment my adrenaline had worn off and I came back to reality and to what my body was feeling like,” Lazard said. “I think that scream was a good indication of the things I was dealing with during the game.”
The injury and resulting surgery derailed a superb start to the season. In the first three games, he caught 13 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns. It was obviously early in the season, but that was a pace for 69 receptions, 1,355 yards and 11 touchdowns. With Davante Adams out for that New Orleans game, Lazard fought through the pain and caught six passes for 146 yards and one score.
And then came a bucket of ice water.
“Not playing, not practicing is just hard enough, at least for me, and I think for most people, too, just because of how competitive,” Lazard said. “Not being out there with your team, you feel so left out in a sense. Having to be sidelined was something that was different, something that I’ve never really had in my career professional or collegiately or in high school. Kind of riding that high from the New Orleans game, I kind of kept that mind-set and mentality and, instead of using that to go out on the field and produce and to get better at practice and in games, I kind of took that towards my rehab and really focused on that, making sure I was eating right, drinking right, sleeping a lot and really just trying to do the best things I could do to put myself in the best position to be where I am today.”
Lazard made a remarkably quick recovery from an injury with a history of ending seasons, as was the case for Geronimo Allison in 2018. Lazard was injured on Sept. 27, had surgery a few days later and was back on the practice field on Oct. 28.
After practicing for three weeks, Lazard caught two passes for 18 yards in his return against Indianapolis last week. With the rust full knocked off, Lazard will be back in the lineup to face a high-quality, physical Bears defense on Sunday night.
Lazard’s comeback was fueled by thoughts of getting to the Super Bowl, something that’s fully within reach with a 7-3 record.
The toughest part of the rehab? It’s perhaps not what you think.
“Coughing and sneezing probably caused the most pain you could ever imagine to that region,” he said.