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Darnell Dockett "Rebuilding The Body"

Posted Sep 5, 2014

After season-ending knee injury, defensive tackle attacks rehab quickly

Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, who had ACL surgery Aug. 25, said he's attending four rehab sessions a day.

Most days, Darnell Dockett is getting in four rehab sessions.

That’s a lot, but for the Cardinals defensive tackle, out for the season after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament, the faster he can come back, the better.

“I’m just trying to cut the time in half,” Dockett said Friday morning after his rehab session at the team’s Tempe facility. “Adrian Peterson did it and came back and led the league in rushing. I just try and look at the whole situation. If there are ways I can cut corners by going four times a day I’ll do that. It doesn’t exactly come easy.”

Dockett hurt his knee Aug. 18 during a training camp practice. He had his surgery in Pensacola, Florida, Aug. 25. By now, “no point in being mad about it, shocked about it anymore,” Dockett said. “That (expletive) is over with. Now it’s about rebuilding the body and coming back better.”

Coach Bruce Arians said he wants Dockett to remain with the team during games, home and away. That is also Dockett’s plan, although he said he won’t really start in earnest until after the team returns from its New York trip Sept. 14.

“I don’t want to be standing up and having it swell in the knee that I am working so hard to keep out,” Dockett said. “I’ll be down there halftime, before the game, stuff like that. I’ll be very communicative with the team. We have some things we are working out now.

“I’m not going to get on a plane for four-and-a-half hours, being in New York walking on crutches. That’s a Friday-Saturday-Sunday, that’s a total of 12 treatments I can do. I’m not ready for that yet.”

The 33-year-old Dockett will enter the final year of his contract in 2015. He said he appreciated the “I believe in 90” hashtag that went through social media, first created by teammate Tyrann Mathieu. After missing just two of 160 games in a decade of playing, Dockett said he thinks people got “kind of spoiled” assuming he would play every game.

“Including myself,” he added.

“The biggest thing now is having the support,” Dockett said. “I’m not really worried about people forgetting about me. I know me, I know my work ethic. Tyrann understands the grind. I remember him talking to me about it, him telling me, ‘If anyone can come back from this and be a dominant player, it’s you.’ I am thankful for all the fans and the organization for helping me through the process.”

He praised the coaching staff, particularly Arians, for giving the encouragement to attack his rehab like he has.

“Right now I’m trying to get over that hump,” Dockett said. “The first three weeks is the hardest part of it.”

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