For Ladell Betts, it was a cruel twist of fate.
Last season, Betts re-emerged as the Redskins' featured running back in Week 9 after Clinton Portis suffered a concussion that would ultimately sideline him for the season.
Two games later, Betts was sidelined for the season himself after suffering a knee ligament injury. He had surgery to repair the injury in late November.
Betts plans to spend most of the offseason at Redskins Park rehabbing the injury.
His goal is an ambitious one: return to practice for the start of training camp in July.
Betts is taking his cue from Carlos Rogers, who suffered a similar knee ligament injury on Oct. 28, 2007 and was full-go by the start of the 2008 season.
"The rehab after knee ligament surgery is anywhere from six months to a year, but my goal is six months," Betts said in late December. "I want to get ready for training camp, just like Carlos Rogers two years ago. We hurt ourselves around the same time of the season."
It was the first significant injury of Betts's eight-year NFL career.
Except for a seven-game stint as a starter in 2006, Betts has mostly backed up Portis and Stephen Davis since joining the Redskins as a second-round draft pick.
Last season, Betts took over for Portis in the first quarter of the Redskins' Week 9 game at Atlanta and flashed his hard-charging running style.
He picked up 70 yards on 15 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown plunge in the third quarter.
A week later, Betts started vs. Denver and rushed for 114 yards on 26 carries. He had another 1-yard touchdown run, in what proved to be the game-winning points in a 27-17 Redskins victory.
It was all over the following week in Dallas.
As Betts was tackled during a run, a Cowboys defender fell on his leg. Betts was carted off the field and out of the Redskins' plans for the remainder of the season.
It was a sobering way to end his campaign, but by late December Betts was more upbeat.
"I had a chance to show people I have a lot left in the tank and I'm still capable of playing this game at a high level," he said. "It would probably have been more difficult to deal with [the injury] if I had not gotten that chance before I got hurt.
"I'm a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. I got a chance to carry the load for two games, and unfortunately I got hurt. It's the nature of our business. Now I'm on the road to recovery and focused on getting healthy."
Once Betts is healthy, he knows he must adjust to a new coaching staff, a new offense and new expectations.
Head coach Mike Shanahan, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner could revamp the Redskins' running back corps.
How Betts fits in the picture is one of the questions of the offseason.
Betts said he expects to rehab his knee alongside defensive lineman Jeremy Jarmon during the long offseason at Redskins Park.
Jarmon suffered a knee ligament injury a week after Betts.
"We have the same injury and hopefully we can push each other to get back," Betts said.