Photos of Bills LB Kiko Alonso's career to date.
Two Mondays ago at One Bills Drive, Kiko Alonso was alone in the weight room. The rest of the roster was in player meetings preparing for the New York Jets. Alonso was doing wall sits. Now three months removed from ACL surgery the Bills linebacker is making steady progress and pleased with where he's at in the process.
"I've started running already," Alonso told Buffalobills.com. "I'm just doing straight line running, so I'm doing everything but cutting right now. Obviously I'm progressing to full speed running. I'm doing everything, but I'm limited."
Alonso underwent surgery in late July to repair the ACL in his left knee after tearing it in a personal training workout in Oregon July 1st. He says the knee feels great, but he knows he cannot rush a process that typically takes seven to nine months for a full recovery.
"My knee feels great," he said. "It definitely doesn't feel like there's anything wrong with it. It's just a matter of time. You've got to let that ligament heal and strengthen the muscles around it. It feels probably where it should be right now."
Alonso should know. He tore the ACL in his right knee back in spring practice while at Oregon and missed the 2010 season. Known as a workout warrior the linebacker said in the past he would make the mistake of trying to push too hard believing it would accelerate the recovery. Having been through the ACL rehab process before Alonso knows it's far better to set a pace in one's recovery and maintain it.
"I definitely used to be one of those guys who would try to do too much," he said. "But I try now not to do more because that can be a negative situation. So I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do. It's the same regimen and I'm sticking to it. I'm really doing a lot of the same stuff that I remember doing from the last time. It's obviously a slow recovery, but I'm sticking to it and you've got to have patience."
That sounds like the approach of the Bills as an organization with Alonso too. Last week the window opened for Alonso to practice if he was fit to do so. He wasn't. That window remains open for about another three weeks until Nov. 18th. If he does participate no matter how minimal the work is it would start a 21-day period where such participation by Alonso can continue while he remains on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list.
It doesn't appear, based on the timetable of recovery however, that such a prospect is very realistic.
"I definitely couldn't practice right now," Alonso said. "That's for sure."
The linebacker is still working up to full speed running in a straight line. Cutting and changing direction will come later.
"I'm not even sure when I can start cutting, but right now the main focus is straight line running," he said. "I'm not even worried about the change of direction stuff."
Alonso is plugged in with Buffalo's new defensive scheme under coordinator Jim Schwartz, often watching film after a rehabilitation session when the players are practicing. Known as a quick study he feels familiar with the system even though he hasn't taken a snap on the field in it since June minicamp.
Watching his teammates play without him has been difficult, but Alonso has just set his mind to the lengthy work that lies in front of him to return to the lineup, likely not until 2015.
"Obviously it's hard to watch when you're not out there and you want to be playing, but that's how football is," he said. "These injuries happen and you've just got to be patient and keep working so you can get back on that field. I'm going to keep working on this running and progressing and at some point I'll start going side to side and change of direction stuff and keep working my way up to 100 percent."