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Kacyvenski hopes to be back in 2008 NFL Season
Isaiah Kacyvenski, an outside linebacker of the Oakland Raiders started rehab on his knee that he injured in training camp. A following surgery cut short his eighth pro season and first with the Raiders. “My wife Lauren has been great. Here we are with two kids and now you might as well throw me in there as a third,” said Kacyvenski. “I have to fend the kids off from jumping on my leg. They steal my walker and run around the house with it.” He continued, “It's kind of like a comedy sketch around here.” Kacyvenski, 29, is a 1996 graduate of Union-Endicott High. He sustained extensive cartilage damage in his left knee during a practice-field mishap 10 days ago in Napa, California, and underwent surgery Tuesday at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.
Following too-many flight delays for a 6-foot-2, 252-pound man unable to bend his left leg at the knee, Kacyvenski, arrived in Endicott at about 2 a.m. Friday. Gnawing at the bit, as is his wont, he paid a visit to Southern Tier Physical Therapy later that day to begin the lengthy trip back to health and, he hopes, a return to the playing field. “I'm excited to face the challenge to make it back better than ever,” he stated. “I'm trying to look at the positive side. I'll be able to spend time with my wife and kids (Isaiah Jr., 3 1/2, and Lilliana, 18 months) where ordinarily I wouldn't be able to during the season. I'll sit down and watch NFL Ticket with Little Isaiah, do those kinds of things.” He added, “No use sitting around feeling sorry for myself. It happened, so fix it and go on, hopefully be better than ever.”
It was during a seven-on-seven drill in Raiders camp two Thursdays ago when, after making a cut and jumping awkwardly over a pile of players, Kacyvenski felt what he described as a grind and a pop in his knee. Kacyvenski knew immediately something was wrong, “It felt like the knee would give out every time I loaded up,” he stated. Furthermore, initial testing proved inconclusive, and Kacyvenski sought out Dr. James Andrews. “There's a reason I went to the top orthopedic guy in the country, he deals with this all the time,” he said of the Birmingham physician. “There was a significant amount of cartilage damage, he had to go in and repair it.”
Kacyvenski signed a contract with the Raiders last month, in which he was placed on the Injured Reserve list, ending his season. “It (playing with the Raiders) was a very good situation for me,” he stated. “In a short amount of time, I'd really bonded with the players and coaches. It was a very good experience for me.” Kacyvenski identified defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and linebackers coach Don Martindale as two who were especially helpful. “Awesome guy, a players' coach,” said Kacyvenski of Ryan. “I got close with them. It was tough to leave them and I know the feeling was mutual. I think they realize how much I do love the game, that the game's a big part of my life.”
Isaiah Kacyvenski, the Seattle Seahawks’ 4th-round draft pick out of Harvard in 2000, spent his first six-plus seasons with that organization before being released last October and joining the St. Louis Rams. Rehabilitation of the knee will begin with baby steps, as he's been instructed to put little or no weight on the left leg for six weeks. Meanwhile, the man given to full-time, full-speed-ahead mode on the football field will move about with the aid of a walker. As for his football future, he expressed customary optimism sprinkled with sensible realism. “I want to play 10 years. In my mind, I have two years left in me,” Isaiah Kacyvenski stated. “I also realize, injuries do add up, and someone might be trying to tell me something. But I don't think that way. I'm going to try to prepare for next season and go from there.” He continued, “I do want to be able to play with my kids when I get older. I want to be able to function the rest of my life.”
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