ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Demaryius Thomas is impatient for his broken left pinkie finger to heal, and given the injury woes that have defined his NFL career to date, could you blame him?
The wide receiver is approximately halfway into his recovery from surgery to repair the digit that he injured during his first full-pad practice after rehabilitating six and a half months from a torn Achilles tendon.
Thomas said he had pins and a plate inserted into the finger to stabilize it.
“My doctor was telling me four to six weeks (recovery time after surgery), but you never know,” he said Wednesday. When asked for a more precise estimated time of return, he couldn’t offer one.
“Not yet, because right now I’m swelling. We’ll see how my bone looks,” Thomas.
Thomas fractured the finger happened during a routine portion of practice 13 days ago, and when it took place, didn’t seem all that bad.
“I was doing one-on-one drills and a DB tried to break it up, and the ball just hit the top of it (finger),” Thomas said. “I thought I had jammed it, so I kept practicing and then I got hit again, then my trainer told me, ‘Go get an X-ray.’”
When he did, it confirmed that the second-year wide receiver had suffered yet another injury, atop the foot and Achilles problems that scuttled his first two offseasons and an ankle problem that kept him on the bench for five weeks late last season.
It left Thomas understandably exasperated.
“I feel like every time I get out there, something happens,” he said.
When Thomas was drafted in April 2010, he was in the middle of recovering from a foot injury that hindered him in the months leading up to the draft. By his first training camp, he looked healed and dominated during the second week of camp, but suffered another foot injury in the team scrimmage at then-Invesco Field.
Thomas played in nine consecutive games during the regular season, but wasn’t where he hoped he’d be and even had to deal with a concussion, which he suffered in Week 5 at Baltimore. He played the following week against the Jets, but only had nine catches for 122 yards in the six games he played after the concussion after grabbing 13 passes for 161 yards in the four games before.
That brief glimpse of success in 2010 training camp — when he appeared to be a revelation, leaping over around defenders (including Champ Bailey) for receptions — remains tantalizing evidence over what he could be — and what he hopes he might be.
“That’s probably the best I’ve felt until I re-injured my foot,” he said.
The only positive Thomas can extract from this injury is that it happened when he was on the 53-man roster. Had he remained on the physically-unable-to-perform list, he wouldn’t have been able to take part in wide receivers meetings.
Had Thomas not fractured his finger, he would have needed multiple weeks to get back up to speed after missing every training-camp and preseason practice this year.
“Basically just watching film and just getting out there, doing scout team reps and whenever I get a chance to go on offense, it’ll come quicker, because last year the same thing happened and it came fast, and I was fine.”
He has been able to run routes and maintain his conditioning, and said his Achilles tendon now feels “good.” That’s one positive sign to which he can cling.
Meanwhile, Thomas also clings to belief of truth in the notion that he’s getting his injuries out of the way early in his career, leading to good health later.
“I hope so,” he said. “That’s how I feel.”