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Wes Welker provides a dose of reality

08.16.10 at 1:16 pm ET

FOXBORO — For everyone expecting/hoping/wishing for Wes Welker to make his debut this Thursday night against Atlanta and, more importantly, on Sept. 12 against Cincinnati at Gillette Stadium, the man himself wants people to remember his return by a specific date is by no means guaranteed.

Not that he doesn’t want play starting yesterday.

Sounding a more cautious tone following this week’s final practice of training camp in Foxboro, Welker said he still needs to make more progress in getting his surgically-repaired left knee ready for game action.

“It’s still kind of the same,” Welker said. “We’re making strides but at the same time, there’s good days and bad days so we’re just trying to work through them and keep on getting better each day. It’s good to get out here and get reps with the guys and be not stuck somewhere else rehabbing and doing stuff like that. It’s just good to be out here.”

It’s still hard for many to believe that it was on Jan. 3 in Houston when Welker slipped on a quick cut near midfield after catching a pass from Tom Brady and his left knee buckled, causing damage that required reconstructive surgery. Since the operation, Welker has blown away nearly everyone – not to mention medical checkpoints – on his way to being removed from the PUP list at the beginning of camp.

Welker, who did not play last Thursday against New Orleans, did not indicate whether he would be ready for the second preseason game this Thursday night in Atlanta. He was expected to leave with the team on Monday and travel to Atlanta and participate in practices against the Falcons on Tuesday outside Atlanta.

“I’d like to be out there anytime,” Welker added. “Anytime I can out there is going to be a positive and of course, I want to be out there but we’re going to take it slow and make sure we stay on track and we’ve been good to this point and we’re just going to keep that going.”

Welker admitted he would love to get out on the field on Thursday night in the Georgia Dome to see what his left knee feels like in game conditions.

“Absolutely,” Welker admitted. “You practice so much and rehab and do things like that, to get out there in real game action, with the crowd in the stadium and the adrenaline is kind of going, that’s the atmosphere you want.

“I’m able it to do it. But obviously, I have this knee brace on so it’s not what I want it to be or where I need to be but we’re slowly making strides and slowly getting there.”

Slowly being the operative word there. It was almost as if Welker was trying to send out a subliminal message to himself that while everything looks great and the cheers from the fans in camp are heartfelt, he won’t know anything for sure until take hits in games and make sharp cuts on his routes.

“They didn’t really say anything to me. They said six months is when we’ll have a better idea of kind of where we’re at. So, I kind of had that my head and the season is seven months away and we’re just trying to work towards that.”

And while he may not ever admit it, having Julian Edelman on the roster gives Welker more time to make sure he’s as close to full strength as possible before going all out in a game.

“He’s done a great job, being able to come in like this and really make the plays,” Welker said. “Once he gets the ball in his hands, he’s pretty dangerous, he’s really showed that. He just needs to keep coming along, keep on doing what he’s been doing and keep on making plays for us. It’s good to have and good to see out there.”

Read More: Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Julian Edelman, New England Patriots



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