While out, Knighton needs to eat smart

Terrance Knighton’s eye injury, suffered in a recently nightclub injury, will sideline him until training camp, coach Mike Mularkey said Monday.

“Terrance, due to the injury and the surgery, is going to miss the majority of this offseason for the next three months,” Mularkey said. “With the injury, his inability to lift, run, or do anything physical, he will not be involved in the offseason for at least the next three months. He is at home trying to heal. The healing process is going to take a while and it’s really not an issue we’d like to talk about because he’s not going to be around here due to the injury. The best place for him is at home right now. …”

“There’s a big concern for his health from this team and his family. The healing process has to answer all of those questions. It’s too early right now to give you an answer.”

But general manager Gene Smith indicated at the same team luncheon that going into the draft the team remains optimistic about Knighton’s recovery, but said nothing is definite and the team doesn’t know where Knighton will be in three months.

Knighton had seemingly done good work since the end of the season to keep his weight in check. But now unable to do physical activity for at least the early stages of his recovery, there is an obvious concern about staying at a good number.

“I know that Josh Hingst, who is responsible for helping the nutrition of the food and diets of the players, is going to make a visit to Terrance in person and go through the diet and hopefully help control those things,” Mularkey said. “I’m sure Terrance is aware of the situation. He’s been aware of it the whole offseason.

“He came in here about a week ago when our phase one kicked off and he was in good shape for this time of the year. So I think it’s been something that he’s addressed already early on in this offseason and I think he knows what he has to do. We’re going to try to help him along in that process with a hands-on approach.”

If Knighton can be at the right weight when he returns, it will be a huge boon. He’ll have the resources to help him. He needs to use them. A difficult thing will now be more difficult. But he’s a pro a year away from a new contract and he needs to maximize his chances to play the way he’s capable of playing and to turn it into a financial payoff.

Smith and his top personnel man, Terry McDonough, both said defensive tackle is the deepest spot in the draft. The team also gets back 2009 second-rounder D’Anthony Smith after two seasons lost to injury.