The road to recovery in the NFL and can be a long and strenuous one. An injury suffered by an NFL player is far more different than what an average person suffers, as is the rehabilitation process.
Things like ACL and Achilles tears would knock a normal person out of serious physical strain for 10+ months. That can't be the case in the NFL, at least, if players want to be back in time for training camp the following year.
Clint Boling and Leon Hall suffered injuries late enough in 2013 that they shouldn't even be cleared to practice yet. They were both on the field Day 1 of training camp.
Hall suffered an Achilles tear in Week 7 of 2013, yet was on the field and running with the first-team defense for Day 1 of camp 10 months later. That was somewhat of a realistic expectation, especially since he did it before in 2012.
The same could not be said for Boling, who suffered an ACL tear in Week 13 last year, but he too was on the field Day 1 of Bengals camp, just eight months after the injury.
"My goal was to be out there today. It’s a long process, I’m just happy to be out here playing again," Boling said. "I’m happy to get the first one out of the way. We’ll see how it responds tomorrow.
"There (are) going to be a lot of first steps we have to cross. There’s the first practice in pads, the first scrimmage, the first preseason game, the first real game. This was the first one."
Boling was the first-team guard on offense.
As for Hall, his recovery from his second Achilles tear serves as an inspiration to teammates, particularly AJ Green.
"He looks like he’s ready to go," Green said after practice. "That’s the one guy I like, man. You can never tell the guy is hurting. He looked good coming in and out of breaks. Tough, but the guy Leon, he’s the guy for the job. He takes care of his body like no other.
"Leon got me to this level. I remember coming in as a rookie before I got drafted working out at API and Leon coming in the way he works. Then I got drafted by them and working with him my whole rookie training camp, it definitely made me a better player."
What served as motivation to make such an amazing recovery?
A Super Bowl, of course.
"We’re all trying to reach the same goal. None of it matters who is back before whom. We’re all trying to win a Super Bowl," Boling said.