Though similar in nature, the knee injuries suffered by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Wes Welker were actually very different, according to a report in the Boston Globe.
That’s why Welker was able to make a cameo at Wednesday's team practice. Both players tore the ACL and MCL in their left knees, but Brady's injury was more severe than Welker's. Brady, who suffered his injury in the first game of the 2008 season, was unable to take part in many offseason workouts at Gillette Stadium in the summer of 2009, as he faced a longer recovery. But Welker, who was injured during the 2009 regular-season finale in January, was back on the field just four months after surgery.
Because of how late in the season Welker's injury occurred, it seemed like an almost certainty that he'd miss a portion of the 2010 regular season. By the Globe's indication, as well as what the media witnessed at Wednesday's practice, however, it looks more likely than not that Welker will suit up for the Patriots' Sept. 12 opener against Cincinnati.
The biggest difference in their injuries, according to the report, is that Brady's injury was the result of contact to the knee, while Welker's wasn't.
If Welker is able to return, the last question will be his effectiveness. Brady struggled out of the gate in 2009, and he wasn’t himself in the fourth quarters of games, which could have been the result of his injury recovery, team character or a lack of depth at wide receiver.
But Welker relies on making hard, fast cuts in the open field. He looked good with his cuts Wednesday, but it's a different monster during an NFL game. If we've learned anything from Welker, though — whether it's this week or throughout the duration of his career — it's not to count this man out of anything.