ST. LOUIS -- Two injury-plagued years haven't hurt Orlando Pace's sense of humor.
"I'm just getting ready for training camp," said a smiling Pace, who missed three camps earlier in his career when he was designated as a franchise player. "I'm not going to complain about missing some of training camp, but we'll see what the doctors say."
Pace tore a labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder on a routine block in the 2007 season opener against Carolina. He missed the rest of the season. That injury came after he tore his left triceps in Week 10 at Seattle in the 2006 season and went on injured reserve.
Coach Scott Linehan, in his third year and coming off a 3-13 season, said the goal is to limit Pace's repetitions in the minicamp and not overextend him.
"Orlando is not going to take much at all until we get back into training camp," Linehan said. "He will do all of the walkthroughs and the individuals. He will be cleared and good to go for training camp. We can't put him in that position yet."
The seven-time Pro Bowl player was the first overall pick of the 1997 draft. He will be 33 in November.
While he is not doing much in the minicamp, Pace is happy to be back on the field.
"I'm just going through some individual things and just getting back in the swing of things," he said. "I'm hitting the bags. I think I'm on schedule. I'm strengthening my shoulder to get it even stronger."
"Wow, last year was a rough year," said Pace, whose string of seven consecutive Pro Bowls ended after the 2005 season. "When you've been injured the past year and a half or so, there's a different desire or hunger or purpose for playing."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press