How do you know if you'll play this Saturday?
It's up to the coaches, really, how much I'm going to get in there. Hopefully as long as this week goes well I'll get in there and be a factor at least."
How does the knee feel physically?
"It's feeling good. Physically I feel good. It felt good during practice. I'm a little rusty, my first step out of my stance, and stuff like that. Other than that, it felt good."
Is there any kind of twinge or pain?
"No soreness at all. That's the main thing. I wanted to get out there and not think about it. I wasn't worried about it, and I could cut in any direction. It felt good. I pushed it a little bit. This is the most I've done since the Wyoming game."
What have the coaches told you about possibly playing?
"Today they said get out there and see how you move. So I think tomorrow I'll have a little bit better idea, and hopefully get a little more reps with the ones. The more reps I get with the ones will be indicative of how much I play on Saturday."
And you're working at the SAM, the outside linebacker position? "Right."
Ben Olson's comments:
How does the hand feel?
"I'm getting the strength back. The whole problem is that this one finger is the one you follow through with, and I haven't been able to really use it."
It looks like you can throw short but can't air it out...
"Yeah, the short passes are easier. I just can't really get over the top. When you throw you get all your spin with your index finger, and that's the one that's hurt. So some balls are getting away from me right now, but it's feeling a lot better. I just have to get my timing back now, and all that kind of stuff."
Would it be better to wait to play in the Washington game?
"Heck no. Why not do it against the best? But only if it allows for me to do it. I'm not going to go out there unless I'm 100%. We'll see how it improves throughout the rest of the week.
"Right now the number one concern is getting back and being healthy, and being able to play to my capabilities. Right now I really can't do that. Even still being able to throw, I haven't really been able to a lot for three weeks. It's feeling pretty good. My forearm muscles are a little sore now because I haven't used them in a while. Hopefully every day it will get better and better."
Do you really think you could be 100% by Saturday?
"I think so. Saturday it was pretty sore, and I was out there during warm-ups and I did the little pad and go lines, and just lobbing it. It was feeling better, but just from then until today it's a lot better. I'm starting to get more zip on the ball. Not anywhere I need to be, or where I can be. But hopefully every day it will just get better and better. It's kind of encouraging for me."
Since you're not 100%, would it be better not to practice?
"I don't know. They say it's really a situation where I couldn't hurt it worse, that type of thing. It's just kind of whatever the pain will let me do. So the thing is, it's not really swelling up badly after I throw. It's not like throbbing right now. I'm just going to try to go in every day and ice and get some re-hab on it."
Does it feel weak or painful when you throw the ball?
"A little bit of both. My grip's not quite where it needs to be. It's gotten tons better. Just being able to get over the top is still kind of hard. But it doesn't hurt as bad when I take snaps, the pounding on it isn't nearly what it was. So hopefully it will just get better and better this week and we'll see about Saturday. I need to get my timing back, and that kind of stuff right now. It's just good to be back. I didn't know if I'd ever be able to throw again."
Having gone on the mission, waiting to play for so long, and then for you to get this setback, how has it been for you?
"It's been tough. Of course, you have to question why now, when you're having a good opportunity to play. But I know it's for some reason. I'm still trying to figure it out. But the team is doing great. That's the important thing to me, that we win, and I want to help out the team anyway I can."
Have you been surprised at how well the offense has done?
"No, not at all. We have a lot of tools out there and an explosive offense. I think everyone is just seeing what we can do. We're going to be playing a little stiffer competition this Saturday and it will be a good test for us. We'll be able to see what we can go out there and do against top-notch competition."