Terrell Thomas watches Giants practice on Wednesday, the first practice he has attended since injuring his knee early in training camp. (Photo by Ryan Valentine/Big Blue View)
Q: Can you describe what emotion you felt when they [the doctors] came to the consensus that you would not need surgery?
A: Frustration, but I didn’t give up. My knee felt great and I didn’t think it was too severe. The way I went down was something I’ve been training for to make sure I was prepared for this day. It was just bad timing, but thank God the doctors agreed to clear me. I’m able to come back and rehab to have a chance at this season.
Q: When did you actually get that news that you’re cleared?
A: It was hard because I met with my doctor in LA and he thought that I wouldn’t need surgery. He thought that the ACL was still intact and then the MRI came out negative but it just felt a little weird. We all agreed that Dr. Andrews would have the last word so I went to see him and he didn’t see a problem with it.
Q: When you were flying back from Florida, what were your feelings?
A: Just relief. It still hasn’t really hit me yet. It’s still frustration because I prepared for this day, but God has a plan for me and it’s all about timing. I have full belief in Ronnie Barnes and his staff. They’re going to take care of me and get me ready for my return. I don’t know when that’s going to be, but I’m going to be nipping at the bit trying to get ready.
Q: How do you expect the balance between getting ready and rehabbing without having any setbacks? How do you strike that balance?
A: I don’t plan on having any more setbacks. I think that this was just a minor scare, more than anything. You just got to give it time. Let it heal. Just use my time to place my focus in other aspects to start preparing for my other opponents. Start game planning against the NFC East. Little stuff like that because training camp is almost done for me.
Q: When you left here, there were a lot of grim faces, somber tones. They didn’t say that he was done for the year, but their expressions seemed to. When you left here, did you agree with that? Did you think that this might be it?
A: Not at all. I stayed positive and kept my faith strong. I never got mad. Last year, I was mad. I was upset. I was just frustrated. I prepared for this moment. I wanted to come to training camp and start playing football again. Work on my techniques. Show my teammates and myself that the Giants made the right choice and they still have. I still have the opportunity. I thank God for giving me another opportunity and I’m just happy to be back.
Q: Why did it seem like the Giants were not thinking that this was going to be a good outcome?
A: The odds were stacked up against me. When you got God in your corner, everything can go right and that’s exactly what happened. Obviously, they didn’t rule me out, but I had a lot of things stacked up against me to say that he might be done for the year.
Q: What did the Giants see that the other two opinions did not see?
A: It wasn’t that the Giants didn’t see anything different. It was just that when you compared the MRIs, as a week went on, the knee didn’t swell up anymore, it actually went back down. If [I had torn my ACL], it would be swelling up a lot with all the flying and traveling… the strength was still there. I never had any pain, any weakness or anything. They came to the consensus that there’s no reason to go in there and scope to find out if there’s anything wrong. There’s no reason to put him on IR and reconstruction. Let’s just see what happens with rehab because everything else around it is doing pretty well.
Q: Can you say what exactly that you think happened? Do you think it was stretched?
A: Aggravated. That’s the best way to put it. The ACL is so simple. It’s either working or it’s not. Mine’s is still working. Thank God. Something happened which caused it to swell. They thought it might have been a bone bruise or… Who knows what it could have been. I guess the basic definition is that I aggravated it.
Q: No partial tear?
A: Not at all. If it’s torn, it’s torn. ACLs are either working or it’s not.
Q: You had with HSS and then one with Dr. Andrew’s?
A: No. I got one MRI. The MRI came out negative. The ACL was still intact when the MRI, but the way it felt in your hands, which is the true test, it felt a little bit looser, compared to what it was just a couple of days ago. That’s why Dr. Warren was so concerned. Ultimately, Dr. Ting, my doctor in California, would know best since he did my surgery and he was the guy that I was checking with the whole time throughout my rehab.
Q: It was just the swelling. You never really had any pain. It was just the swelling that had you concerned?
A: When it first happened, it just felt weird. I went through walkthroughs that day. I jogged around and cut on it. I felt fine. Woke up, had a little swelling. Let’s get an MRI. The MRI came out negative. But obviously when they played with it a little bit, it felt a little bit different. I got on the plane, swelled up a little bit. The next morning, the swelling went down. Going forth, I don’t have any swelling right now and I never had pain and that’s weird if you really did some damage to your knee.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in rehab? Is it just strengthening or what?
A: Pretty much. Just letting it scar up. Letting it tighten back up and just kind of letting Mother Nature take place. My leg is still strong, but it’s time to take a couple of steps back in the rehab and build up on top of that.
Q: Did they give you any timeframe of how long rehab will take?
A: I think it’s all dependent on my leg. I think it’s something that can be three weeks or something that can be eight weeks, to be honest with you. I think that the Giants are going to be very precautious. I think it’s smart, being that I re-aggravated it. I think the big picture is the long run – the rest of the season, getting to the playoffs and not starting Week 1.
Q: So you think that Week 1 is something that you’re not really…
A: No. It’s definitely in my eyes. I’m a competitor. If I can get out there, I’m going to be out there. But I’m not going to jeopardize my career for the rest of the season and I don’t think the Giants want to do that as well.
Q: Do you feel strong in though that you’ll get back sooner rather than later, knowing how you feel with your leg?
A: Yea. Without a doubt.
Q: Do you think there’ll be any hesitancy?
A: I think it comes natural. At first, when I came in here, I was very confident in myself. I put myself through a lot of different workouts. In the sand, on turf, on grass, trying to fatigue as much possible so I can know what I can endure. It was just bad timing in when it happened. I think it’s going to time in my rehab process to start building that confidence and that strength back up. Once I’m ready, I’ll be out there.
Q: When you say take a step back, do you think you may have pushed it a little to hard at all?
A: Not at all. When my back locked up on me, for whatever reason that first day, when we look back at everything. I think that’s the ultimate reason why I re-aggravated it. When you analyze the practice film and you look at how I fell, it wasn’t severe at all. There’s no reason why I should have stretched it or did anything. I think my back was just off my alignment and… Like I said, it was just bad timing.
Q: So you think the back contributed…
A: Yeah. Without a doubt.
Q: What kind of reactions did you get when you came back here yesterday?
A: Smiles. Everybody is relieved. I was a big time player for us. They made strides and anytime you can get a guy back from IR to next year, it’s big. It was just sad and I think that everybody felt sorry for me… what I’ve been through. I’m a very hard worker. I’m very humble. It sucks but when I came back, before I left, I just told everybody it’s O.K. Try to get them a positive feed. This is the NFL. A lot of guys have got to step up and it’s good for the younger guys to get the reps. I wish I was out there, but it’s good for them as well.
Q: When you left here to go to California, your mind was very heavy with the possibilities?
A: Yeah, definitely. I didn’t want to go back to California. I told my mom that I didn’t want to go back. I just left there. I love being out there. I get a chance to be with my daughter a lot more. But I definitely love playing for the New York Giants and playing football. This is my life. This is my dream. I worked really hard for this day to come back to come back from an injury that’s so severe. I just had a little setback and that’s how I’m looking at it.
Q: So what’s the next step for you now?
A: Rest. Rest, rehab and gradually start building on it. There’s no timeline. It’s all based on my knee – how it builds over time. We haven’t set forth a plan to exactly how we’re going to attack it, but right now, I’m just building everything else around it.
Q: Are you at any higher risk to reinjure it at some point during the season?
A: I don’t think so. If it heals naturally like it should and I get everything else strong, I think I’ll be good to go.
Q: So when you say rest, you’re not doing a lot now? Or is like stuff in a pool?
A: Yea. Just alternate… No impact. I don’t want to fatigue it at all. You kind of just want to give it time to calm down. Let your knee… Pretty much let it heal and build everything around it – my glutes, my hamstrings, my quads and all that.
Q: When you walked after, you looked pretty good. Is it the only thing that’s slowing you down, is the fact that you couldn’t compete on the field?
A: I’m pretty sure I can go out there and run and practice right now. I don’t think it would be the smartest thing. I think right now, since I did re-aggravate it; you just want to give it a chance to heal and I think the big picture is the season. Not Week 1. Maybe Week 1. You never know how this thing is going heal. But as of right now, we’re just taking everything slow.
Q: Do you have any insurance policies that if you kind of do too much, they can sit there and say, well we’re not going to honor the insurance policy? Is there something that you have to worry about with that?
A: I did that in college. I don’t know about the NFL. … in London, yeah, that was a waste of money.
Q: So the three or eight weeks, that’s just in general. That’s not necessarily…
A: I think that’s just in general. Typical, when you have this type of injury. I don’t know the full details. I never heard of anybody really aggravating their ACL or stretching it out and kind of have a timeline. It’s not like I tore my MCL and it takes four weeks to heal. I truly don’t know. I think it’s really based on how I feel, how my knee feels and how it reacts to the rehab while we increase throughout the weeks.
Q: Do you have any doubt that you can play again this season?
A: Not at all.