Rocky McIntosh walked out of Redskins Park on Tuesday without the slightest limp. You would not even know that he suffered two knee ligament injuries that will require surgery and a long rehab.
McIntosh won't return this season--it's expected he'll be placed on injured reserve on Wednesday--but he hopes to be back in time for the 2008 season.
"It all depends after the surgery how you respond to it," McIntosh said. "People respond differently. I don't expect to be out a year, especially this day and age."
Asked if he thought he could be back by the start of training camp next year, he replied: "I can't say that. Hopefully I'll be back as soon as possible."
McIntosh entered this season as the starter at weak-side linebacker. He emerged in preseason as a playmaker. In the regular season, he settled in as a steady performer, logging 105 tackles--second-best on the team behind London Fletcher.
He also recorded three sacks, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and four passes defended.
McIntosh suffered the injury in the first quarter of Sunday's 22-10 win over the Giants. He said he got "trampled on" and his foot got stuck.
"Nothing I could do about it," he said.
McIntosh admitted he was disappointed to be out of the lineup as the Redskins make a push for the playoffs.
"It's hard--just a couple games left and the team is trying to make a run to the make the playoffs, and I won't be a part of that," he said. "I just wanted to finish my first season [as a starter] strong."
Options for replacing him at weak-side linebacker include the trio of H.B. Blades, Randall Godfrey and Khary Campbell.
In Sunday's game, Blades came in on running downs and Campbell played on passing downs. Godfrey was inactive.
"I feel good the people that we have," McIntosh said. "I wouldn't want anybody else to fill in for me. I have a great friendship with H.B. and the rest of the guys. I know H.B.'s going to try hard and do the best he can."