SEATTLE – Deontae Cooper figures that eventually fate will turn his way. So while some might assume the Washington running back would be beaten down by the prospect of another rehab from an ACL injury – his third in three years – Cooper said Saturday he plans to forge full-speed ahead and return to the football field in 2013.
“Yeah, definitely, definitely, definitely,” he said when asked if he’ll play again. “Don’t sleep on me. I’m going to be fine. I’m going to rehab fine like I did the other two, and I’m going to be right. I’m going to be physically in shape and be ready to go next year.”
He thought he was ready to go for this season after having received clearance to return after missing last season with an ACL tear to his left knee suffered in the summer of 2011. That injury came as he was finishing rehabbing an ACL tear to his left knee that occurred in training camp in August 2010.
At the time of the first injury, Cooper was a true freshman whom coaches had earmarked for significant playing time after he had impressed them throughout the previous spring and the first few weeks of fall camp.
The practice Monday was his first real work since that initial injury, and he talked to reporters afterward about his excitement over being back on the field and showing coaches he was ready to rejoin the competition at tailback, where the Huskies need to replace the production of the departed Chris Polk.
Unbeknownst to Cooper, he had already suffered the injury that would end his season. Cooper said when he initially was hurt Monday – while taking a handoff in a 7-on-7 drill – he thought he had just strained his right calf.
UW went through its first two-a-day practice of fall camp with a helmets-only workout in the morning and then full pads in the afternoon. Then the team attended the Seahawks’ game against Tennessee, which included recent UW alums Jake Locker and Devin Aguilar for the Titans and Jermaine Kearse for the Seahawks. … Another day, another injury to a linebacker as junior Thomas Tutogi, contending for playing time inside, went down midway through the afternoon practice with what UW coach Steve Sarkisian said was a sprained knee.