FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker told reporters Thursday that it could take a full year before he's 100 percent back to the player he was before tearing his ACL last January.
"I don't know if I can really put a number on it," when asked where he feels healthwise. "It takes a full year until I'm me again, is what they say," he said. "I'm just trying to take it a day at a time and do what I can with what I got right now."
Welker, who had 15 receptions in last November's win over the Jets, said the 2010 season-opener was a big hurdle for him to overcome.
"Absolutely, being able to get out there and play a full game. I didn't think I'd have any problems with, or anything like that, but being able to get through it is definitely an achievement," he said.
Welker added that he hopes to shed his knee brace at some point this year.
"I'm definitely ready to get rid of it," he said. "At the same time, we're going to be cautious with it."
He said the brace limits him.
"It's a pretty bulky type knee brace, and I'm able to do what I need to do out there," he said. "Hopefully soon we'll be able to get it off."
Reminded that Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins didn't wear a knee brace and tore his ACL again, Welker thanked the questioner for bringing up such a grim topic.
"We're going to be cautious with it," he said, "but I'd like to be without it at some point."
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPN Boston. You can follow him on Twitter.