Englewood, Colorado. – That awkward landing KJ Hamler made while going up to capture Teddy Bridgewater in Game 3 last year against the Jets?
It was more than just an anterior cruciate ligament that was torn. Humler said Wednesday The hip joint has protruded and also required surgery to repair it. Given the severity of Humler’s injury – team sources said there was an initial fear of a Bo Jackson-like situation – it’s great that Humler was running and cutting at full speed just seven months after his surgeries.
“I’m way ahead of the schedule,” said Humler, the Denver Broncos’ third-year player, at an astonishing deep ball speed. “Some days they have to put pressure on me a little bit and tell me to calm down so it doesn’t break out, so I play it smart. Just getting ahead every day.”
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The Broncos have seen enough of Hamler’s speed to know he can impact any game as much as anyone else. But his potential has been dwarfed by the pains of growing up rookie in 2020 and knee and hip injuries last year. He got deep touchdown passes of 37 and 49 yards from Drew Lock to beat the Carolina Panthers, 32-27 two years ago and there was an 80-yard touchdown reception from Lock in the pre-season game in Minnesota last year.
Humler was captured by the Broncos in the second round of the 2020 draft to become the Denver version of Tyrick Hill in Kansas City. Now that Hill has left AFC West for Miami, Humler may be free to thrive—especially with new quarterback Russell Wilson’s deep-throwing prowess.
The Broncos are clearly confident Humler will make a full recovery because they haven’t run or have a sprinting future in the off-season. Humler also has history on his side. He tore the ACL while returning for a pre-season game at IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida) in August 2016. Humler delayed his freshman year at Penn State, but then spent two big years as a freshman and sophomore, collecting 98 times, more than 1600 yards and 13 touchdowns.
In some ways, his second ACL rehab was easier than the one he had 5 years ago, and in some ways his rehab was more intense due to the second problem.
“The difference now and then, I have more resources now,” Humler said. And it wasn’t just the ACL. I had a hip repair too. So it was a double hit. That was probably the hardest part. You had to be careful because of the hip and then the knee and it was all on the same side.
“The process was a lot more difficult, but I think this process was better than my previous one from my last year (in high school) just because I have more resources and better technology than I did, so now I’m getting ready and getting ready faster.”
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