Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley was lost for the season with an injury this week, and on Thursday he came out and put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the NFL lockout.
I feel 100 percent that I'm a casualty for the season of the lockout, Cooley told reporters Thursday. I think it was a shame that they didn't let players who had surgery spend time with the doctors and trainers they trust on a daily basis. I wish I could've.
Cooley has been banged up all season, and Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan put him on injured reserve earlier this week.
Cooley's quote reflects the offseason surgery performed on his knee in January. His knee never fully healed. He chose to deal with the injury himself rather than exploring physical therapy options. During the 127 days from March 11 to July 25 when the NFL lockout was in effect, Cooley could not receive treatment from any of the Redskins' medical staff.
So he decided to treat himself, not believing the knee to be as serious an issue as it has become for the two-time Pro Bowl tight end.
I can ice it at home, Cooley said. I can do things at home, but it's a shame it is the way it is. And there's no one to blame.
I probably should have taken more time rehabbing initially, and that's again stubbornness of me thinking I'm going to be OK, and I'm just going to work through pain. That's how I've got through my entire career and it's always worked, and it didn't work this time.
His knee started acting up and getting stiff, but he didn't seek professional attention until late June. Cooley missed all of the Redskins' training camp, and it remained sore and swollen throughout the preseason. He was sluggish through the Redskins' first five regular-season games, catching only eight balls for 65 yards on the season.
Cooley has had his knee drained 15 times this year. And finally, after he missed last Sunday's game at Carolina, a 33-20 loss, he went to see noted physician Dr. James Andrews. Andrews told him he could not play anymore on the knee this season, or his injury might become career-threatening.
Dr. Andrews thought a microfracture [surgery] would be 50-50 -- at best 70 percent -- that I would play again, Cooley said.
Now, under the guidance of team physicians, he is keeping weight off the knee for two weeks. He will not be able to run for three or four months. He hopes to be ready for minicamp next spring. Until then, he only wonders if he would be helping the Redskins right now, had he made a different offseason choice.
That's something I think about all the time, Cooley said. Why didn't I go to a physical therapist?