COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Forrest Lamp tore a ligament in his right knee on the third day of his first NFL training camp. He hadn't participated in another football practice until Monday. One year and 11 days after that heartbreaking injury, Lamp has returned to practice with the Los Angeles Chargers. The offensive lineman's excitement about his rookie year vanished long ago into months of tough rehabilitation, but Lamp was excited to reach another milestone on his steady progress back to the field.
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Forrest Lamp tore a ligament in his right knee on the third day of his first NFL training camp. He hadn't participated in another football practice until Monday.
One year and 11 days after that heartbreaking injury, Lamp has returned to practice with the Los Angeles Chargers. The offensive lineman's excitement about his rookie year vanished long ago into months of tough rehabilitation, but Lamp was excited to reach another milestone on his steady progress back to the field.
"It's like the first day of school, but it's like riding a bike," Lamp said. "It comes back pretty quickly."
Lamp participated only in individual drills at Jack Hammett Sports Complex, staying out of team drills. The Chargers have resisted the urge to rush anything with their 2017 second-round draft pick as he plays his way back to compete for a starting spot at guard.
"I have felt good for quite a while," Lamp said. "But you feel good, then have a bad day, then you feel good. It's just like anything else in life. I just stick to the plan they give me."
The Western Kentucky product was considered one of the top offensive linemen in last year's draft, particularly among the guard prospects. The Chargers grabbed him with the 38th overall pick, and he probably had a shot to win a starting job in camp after performing solidly in offseason activities.
But Lamp seriously injured his knee right away, requiring surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
Lamp had never experienced anything like it in his football life.
He was a model of durability at Western Kentucky, where he started 51 games while largely playing as a left tackle. He missed just two games during four years with the Hilltoppers, both due to an ankle injury in his senior year.
"It was great to be back out here and not with the training staff," Lamp said after practice.
Lamp was in a potentially awkward situation after his injury as he attempted to keep up with the Chargers during their relocation season even though he had never played in a game with his new teammates.
"I felt like part of the team," Lamp said. "You get drafted in April and you show up in May, so you're only here for two months during OTAs and minicamp. In that short period of time, you gain a lot of friends, which you wouldn't think you would. When I got hurt, a bunch of the guys texted me. I was around and I was in meetings, so I still felt like part of the team. They did a good job of including me in things."
Lamp needed a second surgery in May after he felt pain in his knee, but it was merely an arthroscopic cleanup procedure. He appears to be moving well on the knee, and he feels publicly confident about his return.
But the Chargers are still sticking to their deliberate plans with Lamp. Coach Anthony Lynn acknowledges he would like to see Lamp play in their third exhibition game against Seattle on Aug. 25, but everything will depend on Lamp's progress over the next week.
"Oh, it's huge," Lynn said. "It's been a long time for Forrest. He's champing at the bit, man. We're trying to hold him back right now."
NOTES: Lamp was activated from the physically unable to perform list before practice. ... After their tight ends largely struggled in the preseason opener, the Chargers claimed tight end Je'Ron Hamm off waivers from Seattle on Monday. Los Angeles waived receiver Marcus Peterson to make room. Hamm has spent time with four other teams during the past four years, making two career receptions. The Chargers have said nothing recently about their interest in re-signing Antonio Gates, the leading pass-catcher in franchise history. The Chargers and Gates talked about a reunion after starter Hunter Henry was lost for the season to an injury during offseason activities.