Lorenzo Alexander targets OTAs for return

It’s been a little more than six months since Arizona Cardinals linebacker Lorenzo Alexander tore his Lisfranc tendon against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 22, 2013, but he’s on the verge of being ready for offseason workouts.

Alexander said he plans to participate in Arizona’s OTAs and minicamp, which can officially begin as early as April 21. But the former special teams Pro Bowler won’t rush back just to get on the field this spring.

“I’m talking to the training staff and coaches,” Alexander said. “We’re going to be smart about how much I do in my workload but physically I should be cleared to participate.”

Alexander said his rehabilitation has sped up since the season ended in December. That’s when he was cleared to start walking again, after six weeks of getting around using a leg scooter and another six weeks wearing a boot.

By time he started walking around in early January, the foot had atrophied, leaving Alexander with a lengthy uphill recovery.

“The initial process was real slow, a lot of pain, a lot of soreness, a lot of weakness,” Alexander said. “Really, since the end of the season, I’ve taken some pretty good strides as far as getting that strength back in there and the explosion.”

He’s running, jumping and cutting “pretty well” but is focusing on regaining the strength back in his right foot so it’ll match his left. Besides his regular weight-lifting regiment, Alexander’s rehabilitation consists of isolating his left foot through box jumps, one-legged jumps and a variety of change of direction and running drills.

He’s past the point of inconvenience and frustration, which was shared by more than Alexander.

At the NFL scouting combine in February, Arians questioned Alexander’s progress.

“I’m a little concerned with Lorenzo’s foot right now,” Arians said, according to the team site. “Hopefully it will show improvement.”

Alexander and Arians spoke after those comments, which stem from Arians' experience with a former player who came back from a Lisfranc injury too soon, compensated for it with his other foot and hurt that foot in the process, Alexander said.

But Alexander is pleased with his rehab, which is just ahead of schedule. Doctors put his complete recovery at nine months, which would put him at the end of June, about a month before training camp starts. If there was one benefit to suffering the injury in Week 3, it’s that Alexander’s explosiveness will return before training camp is expected to start, he said.

Alexander will do as much as he can during OTAs and minicamp but his eyes are set on a return in late July.

“[It’s] just going to take time,” he said. “I’m seeing great progress with that but the key is being ready for training camp.”