Matt Slauson: The Next Karate Kid?
Florham Park, N.J. – Matt Slauson has had a Zen-like patience during his lengthy road back rehabbing a significantly damaged left shoulder. Following last season Slauson had surgery to repair the shoulder that suffered a torn labrum, rotator cuff and biceps.
While players practiced new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s offensive schemes at OTAs last week, Slauson was off to the side with strength and conditioning coach Justus Galac working out that left shoulder with a series karate-esque moves.
Waxing on and waxing off, Slauson-san performed a series of chops, slaps and blocks – all testing the durability and motion of his surgically repaired shoulder. Slauson laughed off any notion of inspiration from Mr. Miyagi and the 1984 hit movie, but has been serious about getting back on the field.
“I’m just trying to get all my rehabbing done right so that they can let me practice. I feel like I’m ready to go, but they keep pulling on the reigns. I’m just trying everyday to work as hard as I possibly can,” he said.
Thus far, Slauson’s recovery has gone according to plan as he told the Newark Star Ledger that he planned on missing OTAs and being back in time for mini-camp in April. Although limited, he has seen time on the field and Rex Ryan has praised his dedication to returning swiftly.
“He’s been rehabbing his shoulder like a mad man. He’s benching with one arm what I would squat with my legs,” Ryan said in his Tuesday press conference.
Once thought of as a weak-point on the offensive line having to fill the shoes of perennial Pro Bowl guard Alan Fanenca, Slauson is now seen as a mainstay on a unit that’s looking regain their prominence of years past.
“You can never expect to replace a guy like Alan. He’s an incredible player. I just want to go in and be the best player I can possibly be, so we can get back to being number one in the league,” he said.
Having mastered the “wax on, wax off” technique what’s next for Slauson-san? Catching a fly with chopsticks because as Mr. Miyagi said “Man who catch fly with chopsticks accomplish anything”.