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Chase Young does not know exactly what to see or feel to know he is ready to play football again.
“I just have to feel it,” he said.
Young is not there yet, though the star-pass rusher has returned to the Washington Commanders’ training facility to continue retraining a torn ACL in his right knee. This year’s Defensive Rookie 2020 did not participate in training on the field and remains on track in his recovery plan, but it is too early to know when he will be back on the training field and is fully healthy.
“I would not put a schedule on it,” Young said Wednesday. “Obviously I want to go back as soon as possible, but right now I’m just taking it one day at a time and I’ll get better quickly. I know that. Just take it one day at a time. I can not hurry me.”
There is nothing busy as the season opener against Jacksonville is still three months away. The Jaguars game marks about 11 months since Young injured his knee, and just a little while ago he underwent ACL reconstruction surgery, which involved inoculating a portion of the patellar tendon from his left knee to correct the tear.
Young dismissed the concern of having to rebuild confidence in two legs instead of one, though the more complicated surgery could explain why he, coaches, surgeon Dr. James Andrews and team doctors take a cautious approach.
“Everything is going as planned,” Young said. “I’m happy where I am and I’m sure of everything I do in the future.”
Young missed the first week of volunteer team activities while training at an organized facility in Colorado, which the 23-year-old Ohio State product said was also part of the plan because of “tools and gadgets” designed to get him quickly back.
“As long as he gets his rehabilitation done, I think it’s important,” said offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. “We need him for Sunday at the end of the day. So whether it’s here or Indonesia, I do not care , where it is.”
Still, it was especially important for Young to be present for off-season training this time after skipping them when he was healthy a year ago when he mentioned other commitments. Young had 1½ sacks in eight plus games last season before being injured, games that contributed to Washington’s 2-6 start as the defense did not live up to the high expectations.
Young spent part of Wednesday’s training time inside the team facility, but was also out on the field close to defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio so he could hear signals and watch his teammates take pictures. He cheered on his friend and teammate Montez Sweat, and his presence was remarkable as a team leader.
“Having one of your veteran players, one of your leaders out and around despite him retraining, is good,” coach Ron Rivera said. “It is to see the installations and see the tape afterwards, give [Young] an opportunity to listen to the coaches as they point out the things that are happening that are good and bad. You can learn from that. “
Young should learn from his decline in second place during his third professional season, but progress on that front will not be visible until September. His presence at the OTAs appears to be a step in the right direction, after Rivera sensed an “awakening” from Young since last season.
Now the focus is on ensuring that Young can get back to being 100 percent when it comes to.
“I’m not the doctor,” Rivera said. “The doctor is happy about that. There’s a plan, they’re working on that plan, and we have to see where he is when we’re ready for training camp.”