One pop of his knee was all it took to derail the rookie season of Packers running back Alex Green.
Yet almost five months removed from ACL surgery, the 2011 third-round pick is on track to be ready for training camp this summer. He began straight-line running this week in Green Bay.
Green spoke at length with Mike Spofford of Packers.com to discuss his rehab.
"My personal goal is to go now. I want to go right now; I want to play," Green told Spofford. "But realistically, by camp I think I should be pretty good. I’m past the hard part, which is getting the full range of motion back and building strength. I’m over the hump, but I’ve still got a ways to go."
Green tore his ACL while blocking for a kick return in Week 7 against the Minnesota Vikings, and within the week, was placed on season-ending IR. While Green had only played a handful of snaps prior to the injury, it appeared as if the Packers coaching staff was getting more comfortable with the former Hawaii running back playing a role.
The versatile back hauled in a pivotal third-down reception against the Falcons in Week 6 that led to a scoring drive, but just 10 days later, Green's season was over.
“I had just got my feet wet, like I put my toes in the water and now I’m leaving the pool and I never really got to swim,” Green said. “It was an opportunity and I couldn’t really seize it because I wasn’t there. We’ll see what happens this coming year.”
With veteran Ryan Grant still unsigned and James Starks' inability to stay on the field, Green could be counted on to play a bigger role in 2012. Second-year running back Brandon Saine and a potential 2012 draft pick are likely to compete with Green for that bigger role.
But regardless of who is back on the roster or what his role is determined to be, Green just wants a chance to contribute.
“Whatever I can do to help the team win, that’s what I’m all for. Whatever they’ve got for me – third-down running back, starting, special teams – whatever it is, I’m ready to take on the challenge of anything they throw my way.”