• 57°

Tumulty excited he’s back

The Associated Press

The linebacker has been cleared to resume full-scale practice with the Cincinnati Bengals today, a major step in his recovery from reconstructive knee surgery more than a year ago.

Wednesday, November 10, 1999

The linebacker has been cleared to resume full-scale practice with the Cincinnati Bengals today, a major step in his recovery from reconstructive knee surgery more than a year ago.

The Bengals have three weeks to decide whether to activate Tumulty or place him on injured reserve, leaving him out for the rest of the season.

”If it was up to me, I’d play this week,” Tumulty said. ”But it’s not up to me. I know the knee feels pretty dang good and I think it’s ready.”

Tumulty, a fourth-year veteran from Pittsburgh, was the Bengals’ leading tackler through the first three games last season. He tore ligaments in his left knee in a game at Baltimore on Sept. 27 and had reconstructive surgery.

He has played hours of all-out racquetball without a brace on the knee to regain his range of motion. He has done all the weight lifting and exercises to make the knee as strong as it was before.

The only thing left is to see how it holds up to a pounding. One of his golden retrievers already has given it a preliminary test.

”One day I was in Pittsburgh and I was facing my dad, talking to him, and my dog just came flying – we’re talking a 90-pound dog – and hit my knee and lifted me up,” Tumulty said. ”I was like, ‘Ahhh!’ But it was all right.

”I’ve set myself up to slip and fall, just to see how it reacts, and it’s strong. If it were up to me, the first play I’d have to test it.”

He knows it’s human nature to be a little protective of a rebuilt knee. That’s one reason he hasn’t worn a brace during his rehabilitation – he doesn’t want to pamper it.

”I believe it’s in your head if you let it get in your head,” he said. ”Another thing is I don’t remember nor have I looked at what happened when I got hurt.”

Players usually take a couple of years to fully recover from reconstructive knee surgery. Tumulty is hoping he can at least play on special teams this season and get in some time at linebacker.

”I feel I’m running good, my strength is good. Let’s see if I can hit somebody and make a play because that’s my game – hitting somebody and making the play,” he said.

He has been studying along with his teammates in anticipation of his return.

”I’ve watched film and prepared as if I was playing,” he said. ”I could coach what to do, I know it that well. But when you get into the heat of the moment, it’s different. It should be fun. I’m not nervous at all for some reason, just excited. I think that’s a really good sign.”