Chicago Sun-Times

Opener 'still a possibility' for Bears punter Adam Podlesh

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I was tempted to ask Adam Podlesh, who spoke with reporters about his hip flexor injury Tuesday, if he's been to Europe lately. But once Channel 7's Jim Rose struck out on two pitches trying to get Podlesh to divulge anything about his treatment, I thought better of it -- even though Podlesh has a good sense of humor.

If Lovie Smith monitors such things -- it wouldn't surprise me if he did -- he'd give Podlesh kudos for effortlessly fending off the interrogation without a scratch on him.

Q. What is the timetable for your return?

A. "We don't have a real timetable right now, but like I said, the rehab has been going real well and the training staff has been doing a great job maintaining my work ethic on the treatments.''

Q. What type of rehab work are you doing?

A. ''Whatever they tell me to do.''

Q. I mean like electro-stimulation, cold, heat ...

A. ''It changes day by day, so I can't put my finger on one thing in particular that we're doing. A lot of it is very consistent with a hip flexor injury. Like I said, it changes day-to-day depending on what Bobby and Chris Hanks want me to do.''

The Bears have really battened down the hatches when it comes to divulging any information on injuries under first-year general manager Phil Emery. But no matter how frustrating it might be to get so little information, it all comes out in the wash. Either Brian Urlacher will play against the Colts or he won't. And the same goes for Podlesh.

All we're left to do is read tea leaves and body english, tone and tenor and parse the few substantive statements we get regarding any injury. So even though ''every day has been positive'' for Podlesh in his rehabilitation, it's unlikely he'll punt against the Colts.

''No one has ruled that out yet, it's still a possibility,'' Podlesh said. ''We're going to be smart about how we can get myself back on the field.''

By a cursory - and amateur - review of hip flexors for punters and kickers, time is an underrated part of the rehabilitation, because they can be as nagging as hamstrings.

In 2005, USC punter Tom Malone -- no relation to Tom ''Bones'' Malone of Blues Brother fame -- was an All-America punter who contemplated going into the NFL draft before deciding to return for the 2005 season. Malone, though, suffered a hip flexor injury in preseason camp and after with limited time off punted through the injury (USC was a juggernaut coming of a since-vacated national championship and didn't have to punt that often). But Malone was not the same punter, had a subpar season and wasn't drafted.

That might or might not be a cautionary tale, because we not know the severity of Podlesh's injury. The one factor that is confirmed is that the injury is to the non-kicking side of Podlesh's hip.

''If it was to my kicking leg it would probably be more serious,'' Podlesh said.
But, as Channel 5's Lawrence Holmes pointed out during the Podlesh interview, Podlesh still needs to run to play his position. In fact, that's how he sustained the injury in the first place -- trying to use his speed to make up for taking a bad angle on Redskins returner Brandon Banks.

''That's where the progressive rehab comes in,'' Podlesh said, ''and I know that the Bears organization will never put me in a position where, 'Let's put you out there just to punt and just stand there.'

''The way Dave Toub has talked about how we want guys that are going to cover, get down field, regardless of your position when you're out there, you're going to be giving your all. And if I'm not in a position where I can do that, I don't think they're going to put me in that position.''

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on August 28, 2012 10:28 PM.

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