INDIANAPOLIS -- Todd Gurley has a chance to be the first running back chosen in the 2015 NFL Draft, but the club that invests a high pick in him -- be it a first-round pick or a second-rounder -- won't be able to see him practice at full speed right away. The torn ACL Gurley suffered Nov. 15 against Auburn is still healing, and Gurley said he wasn't quite ready to predict when he would return to full health.
"I'm not sure," Gurley said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "The time table is six to nine months, and I got hurt in November. I'm not really giving (a) time table, I'm just trying to get back safe, but as quick as possible."
Given a mid-November injury, the more favorable projection of six months would put Gurley back to form in mid-May, a couple of weeks after the draft. The worst-case scenario, nine months, would mean a mid-August return.
On the NFL calendar, that's quite a disparity. NFL rookie minicamps commence in late May, just after Gurley's six-month window. More likely, the club that drafts him will proceed with a high level of caution even if the end of his rehabilitation goes splendidly. As such, limited participation in rookie minicamp might be the best Gurley can hope for at this point.
On the other end of the spectrum, a nine-month rehabilitation would mean a return for Gurley squarely in the middle of the preseason -- a time when competition is high for something Gurley, as a high draft pick, won't have to fight for: a roster spot. Regardless of when Gurley is deemed ready for full contact, he said he expects to be fully ready to play as a rookie.
How soon an NFL club can begin to test him on the practice field, however, is an unknown that not even the combine can answer.