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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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July 9, 2008 11:53 AM

Garcia "way ahead of schedule''

Posted by Bob Condotta

At the kind invitation of UW's sports performance coach Trent Greener, I happened to take in the team's off-season conditioning and weight lifting session today. I'll have more on that later.

But thought I would pass along now a brief conversation I had with center Juan Garcia, who was wearing a smile as wide as any he has had since before he suffered a Lisfranc injury during spring practice in April.

Garcia happily reported that his foot is now out of a boot and that he will hopefully begin jogging in a couple of days and that he is growing increasingly optimistic that he could be able to play most of this season.

"It's way ahead of schedule,'' he said. "We were looking at (returning) at mid-season but now we're looking at two games into the season, so we'll see what happens.''

The caveat is that this remains a tricky injury and as Garcia admits, the real test will come when he puts the kind of pressure on the foot that can only be found playing football.

Garcia said how the foot will respond to that that won't really be known until he goes through a few practices. He's hoping he may be able to take part in practices beginning in mid-August, if not a little earlier just for some brief appearanes.

"Maybe throw me in for a couple of plays to see if it's actually going to hold,'' he said.

But UW trainers and coaches plan to be as careful with the injury as possible since a false step could put Garcia back to step one.

Garcia said he has been chomping at the bit to push his recovery but coaches and teammates are doing what they can to keep him in check.

He said on Tuesday he watched the team's voluntary 11-on-11 drills and asked if he could go in for a play. He said Jake Locker said sure, as long as the team walked through it. Garcia wanted more, however, and he thought his pleas had eventually worn down his teammates as they agreed to let him in for a play. But when the snap came, Garcia reported with a laugh that defensive tackle Cameron Elisara backed away, saying "I'm not taking any chances.''

"It was pretty funny,'' Garcia said.

Garcia said he will have the foot examined again by doctors next week to see how well it is healing. All previous reports, however, have been good and Garcia said that so far "not going to surgery has been a good thing. I feel pretty good. Maybe all those prayers have been working.''

Unable to run yet, Garcia spends his workout sessions almost entirely in the weight room, and he said he has added to his upper body strength --- his weight is up to 320, though he said he'd like to be back to 310 for the season.

"My strength is there,'' he said. "I've just got to get my stamina and conditioning back up.''

But Garcia said the recovery to date has him feeling like his old self. "My confidence is starting to come back,'' he said. "But no matter what happens, the one thing nobody is ever going to be able to take away from me is that I did not quit.''


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