When safety Terrence Brooks tore his ACL and MCL on Dec. 14 during a Week 15 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it marked the first major injury of his football career.
He was angry and didn't know what to expect. In the beginning, doctors didn't want to give him a timetable. He didn't ask again until two months later.
It was then that Brooks was told his projected return: six months to a year, typically six to nine months.
But less than six months after his injury, Brooks is already back out on the field, running with the starters during 11-on-11 practice scrimmages in Ravens Organized Team Activities (OTAs). He's moving around as if nothing ever happened. It's fair to say he's ahead of schedule.
"I was like, 'I definitely don't want it to be a whole year.' I didn't think about it and I just thought about rehabbing. I'm blessed to be where I am now," Brooks said.
"I don't know if people realize how much work I've put in to get to this point where I am now. [The doctors and trainers] are great. Every single exercise to get you back fast, they've given it to me. It's been really good actually."
Brooks said he's also had a lot of support from teammates who have gone through ACL rehabs, including cornerback Lardarius Webb, who did it twice.
Asked if he expects to be ready by Week 1, Brooks said he doesn't want to get ahead of himself, "but the outlook is looking really good."
"Terrence Brooks is doing really well," Head Coach John Harbaugh said during the first week of OTAs. "No predictions right now, but he looks good. He has worked hard."
Brooks was the Ravens' third-round pick last year. The Florida State product played in 11 games, made 19 tackles and two pass deflections.
Three plays stand out from his rookie campaign: a massive hit on Titans tight end Delanie Walker, a missed interception in New Orleans that instead was caught for a touchdown, and a long bomb that that went over Brooke's head in a loss in Cincinnati. It was an up-and-down season.
Brooks said the injury has actually been a blessing in disguise. Coming to the Under Armour Performance Center just about every day since the season ended for rehab has given him a better work ethic and better perspective.
"I've learned not to take it for granted. It could be gone at any second," Brooks said. "I needed to study more. It kind of got me out of whack not studying as much as I should have been. Now I see, after talking to the vets and guys who played here before, studying and film work is probably 60 percent of it. The rest is you going out and making plays.
"Now when I'm on the field, it's straight business, no mercy. [The injury] definitely changed my mindset."
Brooks still has a lot to prove if he's going to get considerable snaps this season. Last year, he was part of a revolving cast at free safety. With the signing of Kendrick Lewis, not to mention the return of Will Hill and Matt Elam, there is an influx of safeties.
"It's going to make me push myself even harder," he said. "They're great guys and they're going to do great things on the field. But I'm definitely going to be out there trying to win a spot."