All-Pro punt returner and speedy gadget back Tarik Cohen went down for the season Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons, and the Chicago Bears have missed his presence every week since. The versatile Cohen added an extra dimension to Chicago’s offense that simply isn’t there anymore. He was averaging 5.3 yards per carry this season prior to getting hurt, and the Bears still haven’t been able to find anyone close to replacing him in the return game.
Cohen posted a brief clip of himself working out gingerly on his Instagram story this week — the first time he has done so — and he had some advice for those watching: Don’t take your legs for granted.
A few weeks back, Cohen also posted a video to Instagram showing himself walking in a knee brace at Halas Hall with the caption: “Slow grind better than no grind. Feel good to walk again.” Cohen hadn’t been able to walk well into November, so both are big steps.
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Tarik Cohen Reveals Details About Recovery
In an appearance on The HOT Seat Podcast last month, Cohen discussed his recovery, also sharing new details about his injury.
“With this injury, it’s slow. There’s nothing I can do,” Cohen said. “I gotta just take it one day at a time … just do the things the trainers tell me to do. The main thing they’ve been telling me is, working at home by myself, trying to get my knee flexion, range of motion back, just constant repetition, and I feel like that’s just the hardest part. And then definitely the second hardest part is the pain — the pain when they’re bending my leg in physical therapy? That be the most excruciating pain I ever felt.”
Cohen recalled that when the injury initially occurred, he thought he was hit in the knee despite being taken out by a defender hitting his right foot when he was signaling for a fair catch. “I thought I got hit in my knee. I felt two pops, and I had never felt that before. I was like ‘Oh my God,'” he said.
The Bears running back also revealed that he wanted to tough it out, and after getting helped to the sidelines, he tried to walk, which he learned very quickly was a big mistake. “I tried to walk, and then my knee just hyperextended, boom. At that moment, I knew it was something serious. I had never had nothing feel like this before.”
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Cohen Also Talked About Timetable of His Return…
Cohen revealed that in addition to tearing his ACL, he also fractured his tibia, which slowed down his recovery a bit initially, rendering him unable to put any weight on it for several additional weeks. The 5’6″ back also vowed to put in the work it takes to return to top form.
Typically with ACL tears, doctors say there can be a 35-45 percent decline in overall performance for players their first year back returning from the injury, but he isn’t hearing any of that.
Cohen said his recovery was expected to take the usual six-to-nine months, but he’s looking at the lowest end of that scale. “The competitor in me’s gonna want to beat that, try to come back at the beginning of six months — I’m definitely gonna try to be back before nine months,” he said.
You can watch his full interview below: