Brian Orakpo was ruled out for the season midway through last month with a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in Week 2.
The realization that he wasn't coming back, though, didn’t hit the former two-time Pro Bowler until he returned to Redskins Park in recent days to begin an arduous 4-6 month rehabilitation process.
“It’s not a situation where I’m going to come back and play,” Orakpo said in his first public comments since prior to the Redskins' game in St. Louis on Sept. 16. “But I want to be around and show that I care, show all the support and [give] all the help I can.”
He added: “It’s not something I’m accustomed to. It finally sunk in.”
Orakpo said teammates and coaches have been instrumental in helping him get over the disappointment. But it was a switch that flipped in his head this week that’s allowed him to begin moving forward.
“It was just the realization that I’m not coming back,” he said. “I would love to come back and help any way I can, but the facts are the facts. I’m out for the season. It’s something I have to deal with.”
Orakpo originally injured his left pectoral in the final game of 2011 and had surgery to repair the muscle in the offseason. He aggravated the injury in the preseason and then reinjured the pectoral while making a tackle against the Rams. The linebacker had surgery late last month.
“It just wasn’t right,” he said. “You could see as I had my [ice] wraps and different stuff to kind of compensate for the pain I was going through. It wasn’t right, but I was trying to go out there and play, do what I can. And it tore on me. It’s a physical, violent game that we play.”
Orakpo attended Sunday’s 38-26 victory over Minnesota. It wasn’t a flawless performance for the defense, but Orakpo singled out Lorenzo Alexander and the rest unit for putting away the Vikings in the fourth quarter.
“I think they are doing a great job handling adversity and, last week, being able to finish the game when the Vikings were making a run to get back into the game,” Orakpo said. “They were able to close it out.”
If Orakpo does not encounter any setbacks, he could be return for OTAs and minicamp. Right now, though, Orakpo is trying not to look too far ahead.
“I’m just going to get the best rehab and best treatment I can,” he said, “better my body and get ready for next year.”