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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Six months after ACL tear, Arrelious Benn goes hard during Bucs workout

Roughly two dozen Buccaneers held another of their ongoing series of workouts today, continuing to take their development into their own hands during this NFL lockout.

There were several prominent players in attendance, including ringleader Josh Freeman, tight end Kellen Winslow and even rookie tight end Luke Stocker.

Perhaps the most surprising appearance, however, was that of second-year receiver Arrelious Benn. When last we saw Benn, he was hobbling around the Bucs’ locker room in late December after sustaining a torn ACL in Week 16.

Yet, here he was on a steamy Tampa practice field, less than six months later, catching balls from Freeman

and backups Josh Johnson and Rudy Carpenter. It was, to say the least, a bit of a surprise. Turns out, even Benn is a little shocked at his rapid rehab from an injury that typically requires nine months or more of intense rehab.

“I’m new to the knee injury thing, but for the most part, I didn’t think that I’d be back this fast,” Benn said. “I kind of feel like it never happened. But I have to be smart. I still have things coming back together in my knee. I might not feel it, but I’m young right now, so I heal fast.”

And therein lies the challenge for Benn: Knowing how much is too much. He’s working with personal trainers who have been overseeing his rehab since the Bucs cannot do so because of lockout rules that prohibit teams from having contact with their players during the work stoppage.

But Benn said his trainers have cleared him to run, which he did consistently in today’s workout. He said he doesn’t have full clearance to make sudden changes of direction, which would put stress on the reconstructed knee ligament.

Then again, we could’ve sworn we saw Benn making at least a few cuts today.

“On my good leg,” he joked. “But for the most part, I’m trying to take it slow and be smart about it.”

When the subject of training camp was raised, Benn said he intends to be ready to participate if the traditional schedule was maintained. But he added that he would have to defer to the Bucs once the lockout ends, because he’ll again be under the team’s care.

“It’s all on the Bucs and the staff,” he said. “They know where they want me to be and they’re going to do a great job of getting me ready to get back in the routine.”

Now that Benn is in the latter stages of his comeback, he took time to reflect on the most difficult part of this road back. Turns out, the hardest times were the moments when he was prevented from doing the very things he did on the field today.

“I hate being injured,” he said.

At this rate, Benn will be able to rid himself of that label sooner rather than later.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 6:42pm]

    

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