Injured Colon healing more quickly than Steelers expected
Steelers right tackle Willie Colon, considered the team's best offensive lineman, is mending so rapidly after injuring his Achilles tendon in June that he could have returned later this season.
But Colon was placed on injured reserve when he got hurt four months ago and, by rule, can't play until next year.
When defensive end Aaron Smith suffered a partially torn tricep muscle this past Sunday, the Steelers opted not t place him on injured reserve in hopes he could return this season.
But Colon's case was more severe.
"When you get hurt, you don't know how to respond to it," said Colon, who resumed running this week. "But after doing some of the things and feeling good about it, the thought comes, 'maybe I could have come back this year.' I think now I could have been back before the playoffs. I feel that way."
Colon said the realization he could have possibly played this season is deflating. He had started 54 consecutive games (including the playoffs) and never missed a game because of injury.
"My (teammates) made the comment they're kind of mad they put me on injured reserve after watching me do the shuttle runs," said Colon, who completed six shuttle runs and 10 figure-8's without complications for the first time at Wednesday's practice.
The recovery period for an Achilles tendon injury is normally nine-to-12 months.
"I was surprised when I woke up (Thursday) morning," Colon said. "I thought I was going to be aching. It felt good."
Colon has remained close to the team during his rehabilitation. Players with season-ending injuries don't normally travel with the team, but Colon hasn't missed a game this season and will attend Sunday night's matchup in New Orleans.
"Part of my rehabilitation is being around the guys mentally," Colon said. "It's easy to get lost when you come in rehabbing, and you're out the door. I go to meetings every morning. I go through the game plan with the guys. We hang out together. That keeps me mentally grounded.
"Coach (Mike) Tomlin has been really supportive of letting me be around the guys. It's great to be wanted."
Still, there are times when Colon feels like an outsider. Not only is he unable to contribute on the field, he knows he may not be with the Steelers next season.
Colon signed a $2.5 million restricted free agent tender. If a new collective bargaining agreement isn't in place by March 1, Colon will be a restricted free agent again in 2011.
Veteran Flozell Adams, who signed a two-year deal before the season, has replaced Colon at right tackle.
"I consider these guys family, and I want to be back with my family," Colon said. "But you've got to wait and see. The Steelers operate in a different fashion. They deal with you when they're ready to deal with you. When they're ready to talk, they'll talk. Until then, you've got to sit in the waiting room with everybody else.
"It's about being patient. If I'm not here, wherever I'm at, the big picture is being back 100 percent and being able to do the things I was able to do when I was healthy."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- No franchise tag for Steelers’ Worilds
- Steelers not limiting themselves in free agency
- Big names become available this week via free agency; will Steelers be tempted?
- Steelers restructure Gilbert, Mitchell contracts; Pouncey close
- Steelers’ decision for NFL Draft: Pass rusher or cornerback?
- Depth a concern for Steelers’ Colbert
- Steelers’ Harrison announces desire to play one more year
- Time running out for Steelers’ third-string quarterback Jones?
- Gorman: Steelers botch Big Ben’s negotiation