Even though this is typically a time when most players take vacation and step away from football, safety Haruki Nakamura and cornerback Lardarius Webb can't seem to stay away from the Ravens' training facility.
Such is the life of a player bouncing back from a season-ending injury.
While at different stages of recovery from their respective ailments, both Nakamura and Webb realize that they still have a long road ahead of them.
"I'm one of those guys that would stick around anyway, but sticking around and doing what you want to do is completely different from having to come in every day," said Nakamura, who fractured his right fibula and dislocated his right ankle on Nov. 16 against the Cleveland Browns. "Last year, I went on a vacation for a little bit, but it is frustrating when you're not on your own terms."
Webb is only three weeks removed from surgery to repair a torn right anterior cruciate ligament that occurred in Week 15 against the Chicago Bears.
"It's been all treatment all the time," Webb said. "Every day, I'm able to do more. I've been around here, and there's no better place than to get treatment than here. I'll go home for a couple of days, but that's about it."
At this point, Nakamura is in better shape. He had the screws pulled from his leg last Friday and has been able to perform strengthening exercises in the weight room.
The former sixth-round draft pick (2008) occasionally wears a protective boot, but when he removes it, Nakamura is constantly surprised how muscle atrophy made his right leg much smaller than his left.
In addition, he said he lost approximately 20 pounds after his November surgery.
"I weighed 184 pounds this morning, but I got down to about 177," he said with a laugh. "Keep in mind, I was playing at 197 and was in great shape. That surgery will kill your appetite.
"I'm going to have to build that strength back up. I've been doing some things, but I have to focus on the muscles that will completely stabilize the ankle. I've done as much as I can so far, but you really can't stabilize it until you can fully test."
It was a tough blow to Nakamura's promising season. The Cleveland native was devastated when his family and friends watched him writhe on the turf at Cleveland Browns Stadium following the opening kickoff.
"The fact that it happened at home hurt even more," he admitted. "I had a lot of family there, and for my mom to have to see me squirming around on the ground, that was hard."
Nakamura, who played his entire junior season at the University of Cincinnati with a stress fracture in the same leg, is targeting training camp for a full return.
"I think I'll be full participation once training camp rolls around," stated Nakamura. "That's as long as I don't do anything stupid and try to come back too soon. I think I'll be 100 percent by then, but hopefully I'll be able to do some things by minicamps, too."
As for Webb, things aren't as rosy.
Considering how late in the year he was injured, he would likely open training camp – and perhaps the 2010 season – on the Physically Unable to Perform list. This is after the gifted rookie started four games for an injured Fabian Washington (ACL) and was emerging as a capable corner.
"I can't look back and get frustrated," said Webb, who walked without crutches. "I had a great season and got a chance to play. I'm not worried about my future, because I think I showed enough out there to prove that I can play in this league. I just can't rush it coming back.
Still, each player is keeping a healthy outlook.
"I'm more determined than I've even been," Nakamura affirmed. "It's one of those unfortunate injuries that makes you realign your goals, make you shoot for more. I was never a person to settle in, but I wasn't focused on specific goals. I was just worried about playing football. Now, this gives me the opportunity to sit down and think about what I want my goals to be. First, it's to come back better than ever."
Said Webb: "I've always been self-motivated, because where I'm from, you have to be. If not, nobody else is going to raise you up. I looked at my surroundings and used that as motivation. Now, I'm motivated by looking at these surroundings, at all the lockers in here. It's always about how you look at things. If I look at it in a negative way, then it's negative. I'm going to be positive.