BOURBONNAIS, Ill.--Tommie Harris unraveled the riddle Monday afternoon after sitting out another day of practice at Olivet Nazarene University.
He's all suited up with nothing to do on the sideline because he's coming off knee surgery and has a hamstring injury. Perhaps tired of dealing with inquiries wondering why he has not been on the field for a week, Harris revealed that he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his bothersome left knee in March. The procedure was done in order to see why it has continued to plague him, and the good news is he said they found on scar tissue. Harris originally had arthroscopic surgery on the knee in January 2008, six months before his $40 million, four-year contract extension.
"I had surgery in March so I didn't get a chance to do a lot of stuff that the teammates were doing, so they're far ahead of me so I'm really just starting to catch up,'' Harris said. "I would love to be out there, but I do so much in the weight room and all the training and all the other stuff that you guys don't see. The hardest thing is, knowing how political this business is, and having to wear pads and sit on the sideline acting like I'm going out there and different stuff like that, but it's a bit frustrating but I'm going to hang in there and just see how it plays out.
Now, Harris says he is on the sideline because he suffered a hamstring injury. That is the kind of thing that can happen when a knee isn't right--a player can then be plagued by muscle problems with the hamstring or quad. Lovie Smith had said Saturday that Harris would practice today.
"I have confidence in myself -- a lot, in my knee, my whole body. I've been playing on one leg and everything. I can play this game, I have confidence. It's a mentality, and that's the hardest thing to go out there and to know, to get your mind ready for a practice or different things that you're used to just going out and having fun. I'm just hanging in there.''
Israel Idonije filled in with the first team at the under tackle, and coach Lovie Smith was vague about a timetable for Harris. He made it clear he wants to wait until his former Pro Bowl performer is healthy, and they need him in September more than they need him in August. But with the pattern of rotating hamstring and knee injuries--remember he had hamstring surgery in December 2006--it's fair to wonder if Harris has the time to get his body right before the season.
Harris' injury wasn't the only one of concern. Linebacker Jamar Williams left the field with a left shoulder injury and tight end Fontel Mines was taken off the field on a cart after suffering what appeared to be an injury to his left knee.
Check back for more details soon.