The Chiefs were rolling toward a victory at Indianapolis last year and life was good for starting left guard Parker Ehinger.
The rookie was starting his fourth NFL game, getting more comfortable with the college-to-pro transition by the week. Then disaster.
The Chiefs ran a tunnel screen. Ehinger and tackle Eric Fisher set out to block secondary defenders.
“You kind of feel a pile-up coming,” Ehinger said. “So I kind of turned around. As soon as I planted my foot a (defensive) tackle jumped over the pile right in front of my knee. One of those things I didn’t see coming.”
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Ehinger didn’t see it, but he felt it. He had torn two knee ligaments and a meniscus. He was done for the season and with a recovery period believed to be 10-12 months, perhaps out for some if not all of 2017.
But on Monday, Ehinger was removed from the physically unable to perform list and took part in light workouts.
He believes he can be up to speed by the first part of the season.
“Right now, I’m just trusting what the doctors tell me, the training staff and what my body is telling me,” Ehinger said. “Hopefully it will be in the foreseeable future.”
Zach Fulton finished the season at left guard. Bryan Witzmann has started there for the first two preseason games.
Ehinger, the Chiefs’ fourth-round selection in 2016 from Cincinnati, went through the injury blues, but a recovery process that’s running ahead of schedule has his spirits up.
“I’m sure it happens to a lot of guys with that traumatic of an injury, it was one of those things, like ‘What do you do next?’” Ehinger said. “But I kept telling myself, I’m young, I’d always come back from injuries before … I knew it was going to be a journey and a long haul back.
“I just embraced the process and was ready to get after it.”