Jim Leonhard doesn't know when there will be football again, but he's working hard to be ready when that time comes.
Leonhard's rehab has been on schedule, just over three months after a metal rod was inserted into his leg. The bone has yet to completely heal, but the 28-year-old thinks he's a month away from taking part in all the weightlifting, running and agility drills that have been a staple of his past offseasons.
Leonhard has been working at the Sport & Spine Clinic in Madison, as well as the University of Wisconsin facilities. Leonhard is unable to run more than a few steps at this point, but is building up his his cardiovascular endurance with the help of the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill, which reduces stress on lower body injuries.
"They're letting me be a lot more aggressive with the rehab," Leonhard said. "Until that bone has completely healed -- and we're pretty close now -- they tried to hold me back, didn't want to do anything to have setbacks. Now, they're starting to give me more."
Leonhard had been in close contact with Jets head athletic trainer John Mellody, but the communication system changes now that NFL owners have imposed a lockout on players.
Under conditions of the lockout, Leonhard may no longer have direct contact with Mellody. Leonhard can instead maintain a dialogue with the New Jersey doctors who performed the surgery, who may receive instructions from Mellody.
"Everything is set up for me to have success in my rehab," Leonhard said. "It's annoying more than anything knowing I can't go straight to the source for information ... ."
Whether the 2011 season starts on time or not, Leonhard knows time is on his side.
"I'm not necessarily trying to get back for summer," he said. "I think I will be if we have OTAs and things like that, but it's not a huge rush. I'll be ready for training camp, and I feel confident I'll be back much sooner than that."