Dabo Swinney said during his weekly teleconference Sunday that wide receiver Amari Rodgers, who tore his ACL in the spring, is “really close” to a return to game action. Clemson’s head coach added that Rodgers is “definitely ahead of schedule” in his recovery and “anything is possible” regarding his availability for the top-ranked Tigers’ game against No. 12 Texas A&M on Saturday at Death Valley.
On Monday, co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Jeff Scott commented on the current status of Rodgers, who went through warm-ups before Clemson’s 52-14 win over Georgia Tech last Thursday.
“He got to go run around with us a little bit last week for the first time,” Scott said. “I think he’s going to be able to do that starting off today, and we’ll see how he progresses through the week. I know Coach Swinney and the doctors and all that will kind of make that decision as it gets closer.
“But regardless if it’s this game or the next couple games, I’m really pleased with the way that he’s attacked his rehab, and we’ll definitely be excited to get him back when that time comes.”
During camp, the junior receiver was catching punts and running on the sidelines, though he could not practice.
To Scott, the way Rodgers has pushed himself during the rehab process is reminiscent of the dedication Deshaun Watson showed while working his way back from an ACL injury suffered during his freshman year at Clemson in 2014.
“Any time you have an injury like that, it’s all about the mental toughness and the work ethic of the guy that’s going through that,” Scott said. “Amari has attacked his rehab ever since he had his surgery. He’s been a guy that (director of sports medicine/head athletic trainer) Danny Poole and his staff have kind of had to slow down sometimes rather than encourage to pick up his rehab. So, it’s been good.”
As a sophomore in 2018, Rodgers finished second on the team in receptions (55) and third in yards (575). The Knoxville, Tenn., native caught four touchdowns and also returned a punt for a touchdown against Boston College.
Scott says Rodgers, who was expected to be Clemson’s starting slot receiver until his injury, has been dialed in during team meetings and is in the final phase of his recovery.
“He’s been very focused and wanting to get back as soon as possible,” Scott said. “But these last few weeks of it, he just kind of has to get banged around in practice a little bit and see how he responds to that. So, it’s kind of a protocol that has to take place and he’s getting towards the end of that, so we’ll see how that comes out. But mentally, he’s definitely engaged in our meetings. He knows our game plans and what we’re doing. It’s just kind of getting that last box checked on the field.”
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