Despite progress, Welker unsure when he can return from injury

OKLAHOMA CITY -- New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker says he injured two knee ligaments last season, but only one required surgery.

The NFL's receptions leader said Saturday at the Wes Welker Foundation's football camp that the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee were injured during the Patriots' final regular-season game. Welker, who missed the playoffs, says the MCL didn't require surgery and "if you have that healing on its own, it almost becomes stronger."

"We just had to wait for it to heal," Welker said. "We didn't have to do surgery on it."

Welker still isn't certain when he'll return to the field, but he said the fact he didn't need surgery on the MCL was "great news."

"It's hard to put a timetable on anything," Welker said. "And plus, whenever you put a timetable on it, now people expect you. If you're not ready then, they're like, 'What's wrong?'

"I'm going to be back when I'm ready, and I'm just going to work as hard as I can to be back as early as I can."

Welker said he's doing limited rehabilitation when it comes to position drills, but trainers have him doing work with weights and stretching bands.

"The trainers have me in all sorts of crazy positions, trying to make sure I'm doing the right things," Welker said.

A "Cleats and Cocktails" fundraiser Friday night raised between $220,000 and $230,000 for Welker's foundation, which focuses on building recreational centers and athletic fields intended to keep at-risk children focused on sports instead and out of trouble.

Last year, one of the grant recipients -- Douglass High School -- went on to play for the Class 4A state championship in Oklahoma.

"It gives some validity to what we're doing when you get stories like that in Douglass and what they've been able to do," Welker said. "It definitely helps when those programs are really kind of turning around."

As his foundation continues to grow, Welker said he's open to expanding its reach into Boston or "wherever a need is."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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