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Kelechi Osemele Nearing Return From Back Surgery

Posted Dec 30, 2013

The Ravens' offensive line may get a big boost from a healthy Kelechi Osemele.

The Ravens’ offensive line struggled for much of the year, allowing 48 sacks and ranking last in the league in rushing yards per attempt.

It could be getting an upgrade rather soon, however.

Left guard Kelechi Osemele said he expects to be fully healed and ready to get back on the field in a month. He had back surgery in November and said it’s a three-month recovery process.

Osemele reportedly had a herniated disc, which sent him to injured reserve after Week 5.

“I haven’t felt this good since college with all the rest I got,” Osemele said on Monday, as he prepares for an offseason of rehab at the Under Armour Performance Center.

“I’m just trying to get in the best shape as possible for next year and work on the things I need to work on to get back on the field.”

Osemele said his back wound has closed up. He said he’s been working out for a couple weeks, and said his strength is returning and that the pain running down his leg is gone.

Osemele indicated that he injured his back weightlifting last offseason. He said there are certain lifts that he can no longer do so that he lessens the risk of re-injury.

“My offseason training methods will probably change,” he said. “I’ll be more careful with the things that I do. Knowing that the goal is to be healthy for the season, I have to take precautions with the way I’m lifting and change my methods up a little bit.”

Osemele was expected to be a dominant force in his second season after ending last year manhandling people in the playoffs once he shifted from right tackle to guard. But he wasn’t his same physical self because of the pain.

“I can’t wait to get on the field and try [my back] out,” Osemele said. “It’s been bothering me for a while now, and to be healthy, it’s going to be great. I can’t wait to get back out there and see what I can do.”

Converted center A.Q. Shipley stepped in for Osemele at left guard, and while he had some solid performances, the unit had a tough time paving the way for the run game or keeping quarterback Joe Flacco upright.

“Going from winning the Super Bowl to the performances we put out there this year was frustrating to watch,” Osemele said. “The [offensive linemen] did what they could do with what they had. They took the coaching. Nobody was really stubborn about anything. We took the adjustments and rode with it and did the best we could.”

Both of the Ravens’ tackles, Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher, are slated to become unrestricted free agents this offseason. Osemele was asked whether he would be willing to make a change back to tackle.

Although he’s said previously that he prefers guard, he told the media that he’ll play wherever.

And does he expect the line to get better when he returns?

“You never know,” he said. “A lot of things have to change. We have to make some corrections and probably change some things, pre-practice things that we do and certain things that we go through, go through certain plays over.”

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