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Hankerson: ‘I’m Out Here Grinding Every Day’

Posted Jun 16, 2014

After suffering a torn LCL during the 2013 season, Leonard Hankerson has been rehabbing at Redskins Park daily to ensure he's physically ready when he's cleared to return to the field.

Last November, wide receiver Leonard Hankerson suffered a torn lateral collateral ligament (LCL) on a routine play against the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a crushing blow for the third-year player, who was on pace to surpass his career-high in receiving yardage and who had already matched his 2012 touchdown total.

Recording seven starts in the team’s first 10 games, it appeared that Hankerson had finally broken through as he lined up opposite of wide receiver Pierre Garçon and provided a big-bodied frame and a vertical threat that complemented Garçon’s style of play.

In the two games prior to that Week 10 matchup against Philadelphia,  Hankerson hauled in two touchdown passes and recorded back-to-back 50-plus-yard games.

However, as was the case during the 2011 season, Hankerson was gone to a season-ending injury right as he was catching fire.

Eight months after the injury and surgery, Hankerson said his rehabilitation process has been long but he’s been working tirelessly to get back to the field.

“It’s been a process since day one after surgery,” Hankerson told Redskins.com. “The early stages of knee surgery are no joke -- even bending it and stretching it is hard, but it’s been coming along well. It’s been a long process. I’m out here grinding each and every day.”

The former University of Miami star has given fans an insider’s look at his rehabilitation on his Instagram, posting videos of various drills with the training staff at Redskins Park.

Hankerson said each day he does something different and it starts the minute he enters the building. Whether Hankerson's strengthening his knee or keeping the rest of his body in peak physical condition, he’s doing it all to make sure he’s ready for his return to the field.  

“As of now, when I get here in the morning, I’m doing a little treatment, doing a little cardio, but mostly keeping my knees together and keeping it strong,” Hankerson said. “Then, I’m doing some exercises to keep it loose then I go to the weight room and do some leg lifts to get my lower body strengthened.”

While he hasn’t been with his teammates in the huddle during the last three weeks of OTAs, Hankerson has been active in individual drills.

“When guys are practicing I’m out here doing drills like running ladder drills and receiver drills to get the conditioning back," he said.

Also at his disposal has been an underwater treadmill that been a frequent stop during his rehab. Installed at Redskins Park last summer, Hankerson said the machine “keeps pressure off the knee” and “stops all the banging”.

“I used to use the hot tub when I had my hip surgery, but that underwater treadmill helps out a lot,” he said. “You’re just in the water, and it’s a good thing we have it here. It gets your muscles stronger also.”

Head coach Jay Gruden has noticed Hankerson’s dedication in getting himself back to full-strength.

“He’s working very hard, I know that,” the first-year head coach explained to the media. “He’s in there with [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry [Hess] every day and they’re working extremely hard to get right.”

Hankerson admitted that some days have been harder than others, especially when he sees his teammates out on the field, but that he’s used a positive attitude to get him through.

“You’re here for a reason, which is to help your teammates,” Hankerson said. “You have to work and grind through all the practices and workouts. When you go down and you’re not out there and go through the process with them, it takes a lot from you.

“I’m getting better each and every day and trying to keep a positive attitude.”

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