Sean Locklear can relate to NBA star Derrick Rose.
The new Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle, like the Chicago Bulls point guard, endured the pain of an ACL tear. Locklear knows what it's like to go through extensive rehab. He knows what it feels like to face the reality of never being the same again.
And Locklear knows all about the varying timetables associated with recovery from an ACL injury.
"Talking to doctors, every person is different," Locklear said. "When I first had mine, the first thing I said was, 'Oh, get on the Adrian Peterson schedule. Be back in six months. Six months? Heck no. Not even close. I don't even know if I was running then. Or it definitely didn't feel comfortable running.
"With Adrian Peterson, he's just a freak. You've got to take him out of the boat. And then you see Derrick Rose running 82 games on a hardwood floor, you can't imagine that. I've shot around and I've felt a little difference in a jolt if I get on a hardwood floor, so I get where he's coming from."
Rose, who sat out all of last season after tearing his left ACL in the 2011-12 playoffs, is set to undergo surgery again Monday after suffering a meniscus tear in his right knee last week. Rose absorbed a lot of criticism for the extensive recovering time related to the ACL injury.
"It sucks because people all look at Adrian Peterson," Locklear said. "You can't measure it. But I will say that Derrick Rose did the right thing. He's a young kid. You don't want to rush it back. I know people are fans and they want to see their franchise player back when they want him back. But he did the right thing.
"I'm behind him 100 percent."
Next Tuesday will mark exactly one year since Locklear, the former New York Giant, tore his right ACL in a Monday night game against the Washington Redskins. He was carted off the field that evening, and he had surgery on Dec. 12.
The 32-year-old felt like he was back to form two weeks before signing a free-agent contract with the Falcons on Nov. 13.
Locklear was asked which step of the rehab process was the most crucial.
"I'd say all of it," he said. "From Day 1, they are working on extension and flexibility. You've got to have that. Once you get that and are able to bend after a month or so, then you worry about strengthening the quad. That quad muscle, it looked like I had a flapjack on my thigh, seriously. My quad was in my hamstring. It was flat.
"Even when you start walking, I was walking with a brace and your leg felt like it wanted to give out on you. The quad strength wasn't there. You don't think about it but that's a big muscle."
Although Locklear has been inactive for two games since joining the team, he could play a role moving forward. He is listed as the backup right tackle, but starter Jeremy Trueblood struggled during the last game and picked up an unnecessary roughness penalty that annoyed head coach Mike Smith.
Smith was asked about the possibility of putting Locklear's surgically repaired knee to the test in live game action.
"We're going to look at getting Sean up to speed," Smith said. "He's just been with us a little over a week. We'll try to get him up to speed and understanding what we're trying to do in terms of verbiage. He is an option for us."