He's ready. He's willing. But Colts rookie linebacker Freddie Keiaho's knee just isn't on the same schedule as the rest of his mind and body.
When the Colts drafted him, they knew that Keiaho had the skills to be an impact player on special teams right away while he worked his way up the depth chart. But a knee injury that he sustained on one of the last few plays of the Colts' preseason opener against the Rams has taken longer to heal than he had hoped. As the Rams tried to run a quarterback sneak for a short-gain and a first-down that would allow them to run out the clock, he dove at the quarterback hoping to knock loose the ball and give his team one more possession. As he hit the quarterback, he rolled off the moving pile of players and his knee got lodged in between two offensive lineman.
Keiaho tried to walk it off, the next day, confident that it would get better. But it didn't. After a thorough exam, the Colts' third-round pick learned that his sprain was smack dab in the middle of the MCL, which is a bit more severe than a typical sprain.
Keiaho, who wanted to be back out on the field with his teammates, brought the same attitude to his rehab that he brings to the football field regardless of whether it's a game, preseason game, or practice. He tried to push himself, hoping the knee would respond. It backfired on him.
"I'm trying to be more patient now," he told ColtPower. "Initially I rushed it a bit and I think I aggravated it."
Keiaho had to adjust his thinking, realizing that there are sixteen games in a regular season in the NFL -- and hopefully a successful postseason that will lead to a Super Bowl berth and victory. So he's been giving the knee more time to heal so he can put himself in a better position to help his team win in the long run. But the good news is that the exciting rookie believes he should be back in action very soon.
"I can run straight ahead fine," he said. "Cutting is still a problem, but I'm seeing progress now every day."
Keiaho knows that he won't be able to play in the Colts' opening game against the Giants, but he hopes to return the following week for the team's first home game against the Houston Texans. And when he returns, will he pull in the reins a bit and be a little more cautious about throwing his body around out there?
"No, my injury was a freak accident," he explained. "It's not going to change how I play at all. I only know how to play this game one way and with the attitude that's helped me get to the NFL. I'll be going all out."