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Carter Eyes Comeback From Knee Injury

It was 2006 training camp, and running back Kerry Carter had shown flashes in practice at Redskins Park.

Carter's first real test, though, would come Aug. 13, as the Redskins opened their preseason at Cincinnati.

Late in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium, Carter took a handoff from quarterback Todd Collins and had to cut back to avoid a Bengals tackler. His right knee suddenly buckled, and he fell to the ground untouched.

Carter had suffered a severe knee ligament injury, and just like that, his season was over.

A few days later, the Redskins offered him an injury settlement. He was given a roster designation that allowed him to stay with the team.

Carter faced a long road to recovery. This offseason, he has been a regular at Redskins Park, rehabbing his knee while also taking part in the team's strength and conditioning program.

Carter, 26, works along-side safety Pierson Prioleau, who is also rehabbing a knee ligament injury suffered last season.

"Rehab is going well," Carter said. "I'm working a lot with [Prioleau], going through it. It's always better when you have someone to work with--we kind of feed off each other. So I'm happy with the progress.

"I'm in that middle stage--I'm doing rehab, but I'm also training at the same time. I lift [weights] and run, but I also work with the physical therapist just so [the team] can monitor me and make sure I'm progressing at the correct rate."

Carter, a native of Trinidad who grew up in Toronto, entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie with the Seattle Seahawks in 2003. He saw action his first two seasons primarily as a kick returner.

The 6-2, 237-pounder arrived in Washington, D.C., in January 2006 with the hopes of earning a roster spot as a backup. His knee injury put those plans on hold.

Carter faces another uphill climb in 2007.

Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright remain ahead of him on the depth chart. He continues to work closely with running backs coach Earnest Byner, but he knows he is a long-shot to make the roster.

"E.B. has helped me out so much with my game and I can really see myself starting to get it, starting to pick it up," Carter said.

For now, Carter wants to get fully healthy and carve himself a niche on special teams.

"In a situation like this, you have to find your place, your role," he said. "You have to try to push at that point. I know that special teams is going to be important for me. Obviously, at the running back position, we're talented and deep there.

"I feel like if I can get back into the mix and contribute, I can help make a difference."

First things first, though. He needs to be full-go by training camp.

"I just want to get back to a point where I know I can be functional and contribute to the team," he said. "[The knee injury] was very disappointing. I love this game, I love being out there, especially after being injured and being out for a while. I pray about it and hope for the best. I know that God has a plan for me, so I don't worry.

"At the same time, you want to be out there with the guys. That's what you miss most of all--the camaraderie and going out there and competing."

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