Cardinals money linebacker Deone Bucannon checks out some scores at a charity bowling event in Tempe on Tuesday.
Deone Bucannon straddled the line Tuesday evening, optimistic about his recovery from offseason ankle surgery one minute, tempering expectations the next.
If all goes well in rehabilitation, the Cardinals' money linebacker knows he can get back on the field just in time for the regular season opener in Detroit. Then again, any slight hiccup could delay his return.
"I want to start the season," Bucannon said from a charity bowling event at Main Event Entertainment in Tempe. "I'm not here to rush anything and I'm not going to put a timetable on it, but at the same time, I want to get out there as quickly as I possibly can. But get out there at 100 percent so I can do the best for the team and not be a liability."
The Cardinals have plugged Haason Reddick into Bucannon's starting spot and the first-round pick is expected to run with the first team throughout training camp. It remains to be seen which one of them will be manning the position against the Lions Sept. 10.
"I want to go out there and make plays," Bucannon said. "Everybody's been honestly telling me not to rush, if anything. They know how I am. I want to get out there as soon as possible. I'll do what I can. There won't be any excuses on my part."
Bucannon landed on injured reserve with three games remaining in 2016 because of the ankle, but thought rest would help it completely heal in the offseason. That wasn't the case.
"It was a tough situation," Bucannon said. "The trainers and the doctors, nobody wants to jump right into surgery. At first they had to check it out and we gave it a chance to heal by itself. It wasn't feeling right. It got better -- I was out there during (Phase 2) and I was able to run and plant -- but it wasn't how I liked it. They did a stress X-ray and they saw some things they couldn't see on a regular X-ray. So that ended up being the case. It was unfortunate, but I'm just glad I got it fixed now than in the middle of the season."
While Bucannon isn't yet at 100 percent, he was still in a jovial mood at the Freeway Chevrolet Strikes For Kids AZ Bowling Classic Presented by AZ Priority Care. He handed out backpacks to children in need and made his way around the lanes to say hello to the bowlers.
He may be sidelined from football, but Bucannon was looking forward to knocking down some pins alongside the guests.
"I ain't going to take it easy on anybody, either," Bucannon said. "If they give me a ball and bowling shoes, I'm going to go out there and try to make something happen. I consider myself an ace, a little bowling ace."
Images from the Freeway Chevrolet Strikes For Kids AZ Bowling Classic Presented by AZ Priority Care at Main Event Entertainment on Tuesday