Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict worked with the team on Tuesday, continuing a rehabilitation effort that will span the entire summer. Head coach Marvin Lewis told the Cincinnati Enquirer,"Vontaze will be in rehab all the way through the summer. So, he's got a long ways to go. He had surgery in January. That's a surgery that takes a bit."
Burfict underwent microfracture surgery in late January. The procedure is designed to "correct cartilage damage on the side of his knee" which "involves drilling tiny fractures in bone to develop new cartilage."
"Burfict wasn't able to run Tuesday and often walked with a limp moving across the practice field while hanging around the linebacker group during individual drills," observed Paul Dehner with the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Most of his time was spent forcing small steps against a resistant band while his teammates ran through 11-on-11 drills one field away."
Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed the procedure, spoke with NFL media insider Ian Rapoport, believes that Burfict should be able to return to his old form and be healthy by training camp.
"I don't see any reason, if this thing heals like we want and we think it will, why he won't be back like he was," said Dr. Neal ElAttrache, a member of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic Board of Directors, over the phone. "Microfracture has a bad connotation, but there are plenty of guys who have come back and been able to play like before. But it's not really news when it works out."
Most are projecting that Burfict will start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Burfict suffered a knee injury against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 29 and underwent arthroscopic surgery soon after. When his knee wasn't responding to rehabilitation, he was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve on Dec. 9. The Pro Bowl linebacker contemplated surgery at the end of the season to repair what wasn't fixed in October and Marvin Lewis later confirmed he went ahead with the procedure, from which he is now rehabilitating.