FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Darrelle Revis has a message for Jordy Nelson: Welcome to the group.
"The ACL family" is tight-knit unit, comprised of past and current players who have gone down the difficult road of rehabbing from major knee surgery. And unfortunately for the Green Bay Packers, Nelson is now a part of that group. Just like Revis was three years ago.
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Nelson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Sunday during a preseason game against the Steelers.
He's now one of 25 NFL players to tear their ACLs during the preseason, the latest of which is Cowboys' cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
Revis faced the same season-ending injury in 2012, albeit not during the preseason. Instead, he tore the ACL in his left knee in a Week 3 road game against the Dolphins.
"It's really draining," the Jets cornerback said of the rehab process on Wednesday. " . . . That's the same thing Jordy will go through. A lot of guys go through it around the league. You talk to guys, you talk to past players who have had it, you talk to present players and you just talk about the process that you have to go through; rehab and those things.
"It's a dark place because the rehab is pretty tough. It's pretty tough on a day-to-day basis to rehab and work on your leg. And sometimes you may be thinking you're not doing much for that day and that's something he'll go through and he'll have to fight through it."
During his recovery, Revis said he consulted "a bunch of guys" who experienced similar surgeries and the same frustrations as him. "Yeah. I've talked to a number of guys who had ACL injuries. That's where I got the phrase 'the ACL family,' he said, smiling. " . . . It's a long list. I've talked to people who've gone on ski trips and tore ACLs. So you get birthed into the ACL family and you just listen to their experiences."
It's an uncomfortable place to be -- away from your teammates and the game you love. Revis has been there. And now, Nelson will embark on the same journey.
"Some days you might feel like you're not doing enough . . . and you're anxious to get back and recover from this injury," Revis said. "It's going to take a little patience . . . I think it's just the competitive spirit that we have as NFL players, just trying to get back so fast from the injury. And it's not a small injury or a nick, something you can just recover fast from. It's going to take a whole year to get to that."