Husky quarterback right on target

When sophomore quarterback Cody Pickett finished the 2001 football season, he had some very daunting decisions to make. As he sat talking to the media in the aftermath of the 2001 Holiday Bowl loss to Texas, he looked tired and somewhat apprehensive about the future. The normal fire that leaps from his eyes had extinguished, and for good reason.

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He faced three options in terms of repairing his third-degree separation of his throwing shoulder, and none of them would be sure things in terms of being 100% fixes.

The first option was to do nothing, rest the shoulder, and learn to live with the pain that would come when he suffered a direct hit on his right side. He also would need to learn to throw with less range of motion. That wasn't really an option at all.

The other two options required surgery. One of them would be a radical operation where the shoulder would be opened up and the bones reattached. That surgery would require nine months of recovery time.

He went with option three, a surgical procedure where a bone was not reattached, but sawed off to allow range of motion. The ligaments were reattached and then he didn't do anything but rest his wounded wing. The surgery happened back on January 7th, and Pickett had yet to throw a football.

Until yesterday.

He began by throwing 50 passes, and he felt no pain. It was the first time he had thrown since the Holiday Bowl.

Mentally, Pickett is relieved and excited "I feel much better now that I've got the first one out of the way. I felt really good today," said Pickett after practice yesterday.

"We are going slow for all of the younger guys, so for me today was all repetition. It feels good to have played last year, to come back and have it all be familiar. For the first day of spring, I felt very good."

Pickett set school records for passing yards last season and will be asked to carry a lot of the burden this season as well with the graduation of senior tailback Willie Hurst.

Day one of spring drills was a milestone in itself because some wondered if Pickett would throw at all. "After having not thrown the ball for four months, you're going to be rusty. I was rusty but my arm felt good," said Pickett.

He is pain free, and that is a huge mental burden off of his shoulders. "I'll be good by the end of spring. I'm good right now, I just need to knock the rust off. That's all."

He is happy that he chose the surgery that he did. "I didn't get the bone reattached. That would've taken nine months to recover and there would've been some question as to whether I could return for next year. That wasn't a consideration because I want to play."

So the doctors went in and sawed the bone off a bit and reattached the ligament. "It's a common thing that they do and everything went fine. I gave it as much time as I could to recover so I've done nothing but rest. The only throws I've made have been to my trainer, some underhanded tosses. Today was the first time I've stepped on to a field and thrown since the surgery," said Pickett.

Head Coach Rick Neuheisel was very pleased with Pickett's appearance on the field. "He was rusty but I was very encouraged with what he was doing. He's going to be fine."

Pickett, ever the perfectionist, still couldn't let himself be happy with just being out there throwing. "A couple of balls I threw today were terrible. Its just rust. The guys are teasing me, but they were wondering if I would even be out here throwing at all. Today they didn't really pick on me that much, not like the usual. Because I threw a lot of ducks today," he said with a wry smile.

"I felt like I didn't throw well today, but I did feel good in the warm-ups. Just standing and throwing feels good but throwing routes requires timing. I haven't thrown a ball since Texas. I know what's going on mentally but actually coming out here and doing it will take a couple of days to get going."

Pickett is expected to see as much action as his shoulder will allow, and since he won't be hit, that could be most of the reps with the first team.

The life and fire that were missing from his eyes in the locker room after the Holiday Bowl has returned. Washington has their offensive leader back.

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