Barnett the Samarai Bounces Back
Dec 25, 2009 ~ By Tom Silverstein, Journal-Sentinel
These days, when Green Bay Packers linebacker Nick Barnett plants his foot, he knows his knee is going to hold up.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t some scary moments, like last Sunday against Pittsburgh.
Barnett’s left foot gave way on the soft Heinz Field turf and he couldn’t get his right foot out in front of him, causing him to twist his knee. Barnett tried to walk it off, but he stopped halfway to the sideline and kneeled down to gather himself.
“It scared the hell out of me,” Barnett said. “I went back on it where it’s like, your flexibility, sometimes it feels a little stiff. But I went back on it and it was like, ‘Agggh.’
“But that’s all it really was, it brought it back. My ACL is stronger than it’s ever been. When the doctor pulls this ACL (the right) and that one (the left), this ACL is rock hard. I knew nothing was wrong. They just wanted to make sure I didn’t sprain an MCL or something.”
Practically every day, Barnett has to devote 30-60 minutes of care to his knee, and yet there are still times – mostly the last couple of weeks – that he has to back off from practice on Wednesday and allow some swelling to dissipate. But he’s always back the next day and on Sunday goes back to playing with total abandon and no fear his knee won’t hold up.
It has been 13 months since his 2008 season was ended and he underwent surgery. The level at which Barnett is playing belies the fact he ever injured the knee. Only the most trained observers can tell that he’s not back to 100%, which is almost always the case for those just one year removed from a torn ACL.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s totally 100% now, there’s still a difference between this knee and that knee, so it should get better,” Barnett said. “I just have to come with the same attitude as far as the hunger with working out, which I will.
“The way I feel at the end of this year is better than I’ve ever felt just because the way I prepared and the way I kept it up working out the entire season and kept my body right. It’s so important to do that.” FULL story here