Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Dee Ford had offseason knee surgery involving ‘extensive cleanup,’ feels great now

May 29, 2020 at 9:49 AM--

San Francisco 49ers pass rusher Dee Ford had a significant impact on defense when he was on the football field. He missed five games last season due to a hamstring injury while also dealing with the effects of severe tendinitis in his knee, and fought through the discomfort when he was able to play.

Ford, who spoke with reporters via a video conference on Friday, said he underwent surgery this offseason to clean up the knee and feels confident the issues are now behind him.

"I had an operation ... a couple of weeks after the season, after the Super Bowl," Ford said, "and I feel great. Dr. (James) Andrews did the surgery in Pensacola. It was a pretty extensive cleanup, but I feel great right now. I've been rehabbing here in Alabama, of course, with all this going on. I feel great right now."

The difference in how Ford feels now compared to in-season is very noticeable. The veteran defender can't believe he endured an entire season with the discomfort.

"We were spot-on on diagnosing it in training camp," Ford explained. "I had severe tendinitis. Although it's not an ACL tear, with my position, that's a blown tire. ... I'm confident moving forward, and I feel great right now. I'm able to actually explode off of this knee.

"Thinking back on that, I can't believe I played a whole season on it. And we knew, at the end of the day, what we had to do. It had to be surgical, but I didn't want to miss the season. We had too much going on. I didn't want to miss that.

"It's in the bag now, though. I'm confident in that."

The abnormal offseason has impacted Ford's ability to access the progress of his recovery. He remains away from the team's facilities due to limitations in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"As of right now, I'm just getting as healthy as I can," Ford added. "With everything that's going on right now, it's hard to measure what percentage (I am at in my recovery). I feel great right now. I know exactly what I felt like last year. Doing the things that I'm doing now, it's like night and day.

"We'll just play it by ear once everything gets back going. We haven't really had an offseason, and no one's really been in competition. It's just hard to measure exactly where you're at, so we're going to take it one day at a time, just keep getting this thing as strong as I can possibly get it so we can sack some quarterbacks."

One of the five games that Ford missed due to the hamstring injury was the crucial Week 17 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.

The win was the first for the 49ers in Seattle since 2011, determined the NFC West crown, and gave San Francisco home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

"I was in a situation when we needed to beat Seattle, and I had actually re-pulled my hamstring (while) working out," Ford said. "I really wanted to play in that game, even if I was to just be a decoy.

"When the stage is that big, and the stakes are that high, big-time players come out in those types of games. The fact that I was missing those opportunities, it definitely hurt.

"But we sat down as a training staff, which was phenomenal. We have a phenomenal training staff and strength and conditioning staff. We were all on the same page with we got one shot to do this right because we're definitely going to be in the postseason.

"I had to forget about how I felt and just move forward. It was tough, but that's just what we had to do so I could be available for the Vikings, and the Super Bowl, and all that."

Even that short timeline made things difficult on Ford's recovery. The defender noted that it takes about two months to recover from that type of hamstring injury, but he wanted to contribute.

San Francisco traded for Ford last offseason, and he racked up 6.5 sacks in his 11 regular-season appearances with the 49ers last year. The Pro Bowl defender is entering his seventh NFL Season.

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