He flashed a quickness no one had seen. Then, in a flash, it was gone.
Greg Jones' preseason knee injury was a setback so severe that it nearly reduced his head coach, Jack Del Rio, to tears in announcing to reporters last August that Jones' season was over.
"The guy hit me low and my knee hyperextended. I partially tore the ACL. The doctor told me it was my ACL. I was preparing myself for the worst but it hit hard," Jones told jaguars.com following another morning of intense rehabilitation.
Jones' life has seemingly been a series of rehab sessions. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 2002, his junior season at Florida State. This past summer, after showing signs of finally getting back to where he had been four years earlier, Jones blew out his left ACL on a harmless-looking run around right end against the Tampa Bay Bucs in the preseason's third game.
At the time, Jones was making a move on the Jaguars' feature running back position. Jones had added quickness to his power-running style and Del Rio was dreaming of a season of pounding Jones at opposing defenses.
So, what are the expectations now? Will Jones' rehab from his second ACL injury require another two years for a full recovery?
"I'm not trying to give myself two years because this one feels a whole lot better than the last one. My body is still young and I'm workin' hard," Jones said.
The big difference between this most recent knee injury and his previous injury is a matter of degrees. Jones partially tore his ACL and Dr. James Andrews mended the tear by using Jones' patella tendon. In '02, Jones also tore his medial collateral ligament and sustained meniscus damage, in addition to tearing the ACL.
"I rushed it coming back. I didn't do a full rehab. I should've taken time and rehabbed. It was my decision to come back that quickly," he said.
Jones' doesn't believe the quickness he flashed last summer was a result of finally having recovered from his knee injury of '02. Jones credits his new-found quickness to an offseason workout regimen. Following OTA (organized team activity) practices last spring, Jones went to Orlando to work out with a personal trainer before the start of training camp. He believes that's where he found his quickness and he intends to do the same thing before the start of this year's training camp.
"I'm running and jogging. Everything is feeling good; no complications," he said in providing an update four months into his rehab.
Jones says he expects to participate in spring practices and that he'll be fully recovered for the start of training camp.
"I'm trying to pick up where I left off. That's my whole goal right now," he said.
In his absence, rookie Maurice Jones-Drew picked up the slack, rushing for 941 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those were supposed to be Jones' yards and Jones' touchdowns.
"It was rough standing on the sideline. I was cheering them on," Jones said.
What will his role be in 2007?
"We'll see. I'm not going to give up," he said of his dream to be a premier running back.