Nick Boyle is moving closer to his return.
The veteran tight end has made steady progress during the months since suffering a serious knee injury Nov. 15 that ended his 2020 season.
With injured veterans reporting to training camp today and the Ravens set to begin practices July 28, Boyle still does not have an exact timetable for his return. But on "The Lounge" podcast, Boyle was upbeat and looking forward to rejoining his teammates soon. As one of the league's best blocking tight ends, Boyle is a crucial part of Baltimore's offense.
"When I'm ready, I'm going to be back out there," Boyle said. "If it's not right away or if it is right away, just know that I'm still putting in my effort every single day to get back out there as fast as I can.
"My summer was good. A lot of it was just trying to rehab my knee. That's really going to be the idea until I get back on the field. It's really every day just trying to get my knee better."
Boyle has spent long hours rehabbing at the Under Armour Performance Center, working diligently to get back as quickly as possible. This has been a new experience for Boyle, a durable player who had missed just one game since 2017 before suffering his knee injury against the New England Patriots. There have been many physical and mental hurdles to overcome, but Boyle has kept grinding.
"This being my first real major injury, I have a ton of respect for those who get injured now," Boyle said. "Not that I didn't before. I'm not a sympathetic dude, but I am to this stuff now.
"It's going well. But there's those days when it's going to be tough — you've just got to get through and know there's a goal at the end of all this hard work. Rehab's kind of a constant thing that you're always trying to get after. This is all the work you're putting on top of weightlifting or doing your other things you're normally doing during the offseason. The workload kind of increases but you kind of embrace it to an extent."
The sight of Boyle being carted off the field was a low point in Baltimore's season, but the most painful memory for Boyle was how he felt following surgery.
"When I got hurt, my leg was just really numb but it didn't really hurt that bad," Boyle said. "The grunt of this was going through surgery. When I woke up from surgery, it feltlike there was a chainsaw going through my bone, just aching."
Boyle gave credit to the Ravens' medical staff for playing a key role in his recovery. He mentioned Assistant Certified Athletic Trainer Kevin Domboski as someone who knows how to handle Boyle's personality, pushing his buttons the right way to motivate him.
"Me and Kevin, we go after it sometimes," Boyle said. "It's kind of funny. Our relationship is really good. People love listening to us bicker back and forth. It's entertainment for the people in the room."
Boyle has spent plenty of time in the training room with All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who has been rehabbing from a serious ankle injury.