The good news for Nick Ferguson was that he did not tear multiple ligaments when he injured his knee against San Diego on Nov. 19. Nor did he tear the anterior cruciate ligament, recovery from which can often extend to nearly a full year, as Javon Walker experienced with a 10-and-a-half-month rehabilitation before he was cleared for full work at the dawn of last summer’s training camp.
But torn meniscus in his left knee was enough to keep him out for the season’s final six games, knock him off his feet and onto crutches for a few weeks, and — worse still — keep him from even being able to watch his teammates in person in the weeks following surgery.
“I really wanted to attend (the Seahawks) game (on Dec. 3),” he said in December “I really wanted to, but I was told not to — just don’t even show up.
“I even thought about just showing up and staying in the stands somewhere where no one could see me, but I (didn’t think) that was going to work.”
But then again, watching from home as his teammates lost at Kansas City on Thanksgiving didn’t work, either.
I could have broken a couple of things in my place … I’ll just leave it that way,” Ferguson said with a wry smile. “But it was very frustrating to watch knowing that maybe there was something I could have possibly done if I was playing. You just feel helpless. You see your teammates out there trying to make some things happen. It was really tough for me to watch.”
The only question is who will welcome Ferguson’s return more … his teammates or the veteran safety hismelf.
FINAL ANALYSIS: One should never — ever — question Ferguson’s toughness. He missed just a handful of snaps against the Chargers even after incurring the knee injury on a first-half interception and wanted to play further games with the injury. “He was really hoping that he could play with it, but doctors said there’s just no way; it was almost completely torn,,” Head Coach Mike Shanahan said at the time … At the time his season ended, Ferguson ranked ninth on the Broncos with 36 total tackles (28 solo, eight assists) and led Denver’s safety corps with five passes defensed. He was also the only Bronco at the time to have intercepted a pass and forced a fumble in the 2006 season; Domonique Foxworth and Darrent Williams both joined him with their play in the year’s final month.
NEXT: Right tackle George Foster.