IRVING, Texas -- On the night he tore his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee last August in training camp, Orlando Scandrick let it be known that he would be back and better than ever.
On Monday, the day the Dallas Cowboys opened their offseason program, Scandrick admitted there has been days of doubt along the way.
“I do remember being in a brace and barely struggling to talk or being on the gravity treadmill and not being able to push off,” Scandrick said. “It’s coming back. There were times I sat on the couch and didn't know I'd ever be able to do this again.The surgeon was phenomenal. The rehab was phenomenal. And the mental approach and mental toughness I had to show has been second to none.”
Scandrick has the date of his injury that kept him out last season memorized. Thursday is the eight and a half month anniversary of getting hurt.
He is doing all of the lifting with his teammates, thanks to the work he did in the rehab process. He will not do as much running because, he said, he is ahead of his teammates in that department because he has not had a break since the season ended.
“We have a great plan in place,” Scandrick said. “I expect to be ready for training camp.”
He purposely said training camp because he does not expect to do much of anything on the field in the organized team activities or June minicamp.
“The plan in place the whole time was I’d be ready for Week 1 and not suffer any setbacks and continue to get stronger,” Scandrick said. “Once you feel ready, you’ve got to go at it a little bit more to know you’re really ready.”
Scandrick is entering his ninth year. He has started 29 of the past 30 games he played. In 2014, he was the Cowboys' best cornerback and was named their defensive MVP.
A year ago he skipped the early part of the offseason program hoping the Cowboys would address his contract. They adjusted the deal, adding money and a year to it. That commitment meant a lot.
“I couldn’t express how much I appreciate that and then to go out and get hurt in training camp like I did was tough,” Scandrick said. “I just feel like I owe it to them to be here, to be committed. This organization has been nothing but great to me the first eight years of my career.”
But he believes he is at the point in his career where the offseason program is more about strength and conditioning than football drills.
“I knew all along when I got hurt this was a 12 month process for the type of injury I had,” Scandrick said. “By the grace of God I’ve been able to be ahead of schedule on everything. You’d hate to get so far then get out there a little too early and suffer any kind of setback that would be a lingering problem.
“Once I get to the season I expect to be a full participant. I expect to play 16 games. I expect to practice every day. I don’t want it to be one of those things you’ve got to manage to get to the game and then in season you have to skip all the practices because your knee’s tired. I think the plan in place is great.”
The big-picture plan in place also remains the same from the night he suffered the injury.
“I’m more excited this season than I’ve been in any season at any stage of my career, playing any organized sport,” Scandrick said. “I’m eager to get back out there and prove to my teammates, the organization, the fans, the media that I’m going to be the same player if not better.”