Wes Welker Learning to Trust Surgically Repaired Knee

New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker admitted that he’s still learning to trust his surgically repaired left knee.

“It’s getting to the point of just trusting my knee and knowing that it’s going to be fine,” Welker told the Boston Herald. “Not that there’s doubt, but subconsciously (when you’re out there), you think there might be doubt. So for me, it’s getting past that and getting that muscle memory back.”

There was speculation that Welker would not be the same receiver after he tore both his ACL and MCL in the final week of the 2009 season. Following an excruciating rehab, Welker made an incredible return the team only seven short months after sustaining the injury.

His numbers, however, haven’t quite come back with him. Welker has only 355 receiving yards in eight games this season despite setting a career-high with 1,348 last year. He also has caught three TD passes, but both came in the first two weeks of the season.

Welker’s catches (44) are nearly half of the total he had at this point last year (78) which helps explain why he ranks 30th in the NFL in YAC, a category he usually leads by a staggering margin.

“I don’t think you’re fully back until a full year, and even then, I think people think you go through an injury like that and you’re just supposed to come back the same when, over the offseason, I’m usually training instead of rehabbing,” Welker said. “There’s a difference. . . . I still feel like I can play at a very high level now, and that’s my job every time I step out there.”

Randy Moss’ departure from New England may have also hurt Welker’s numbers. Since  the Moss trade on Oct. 8, Welker has only one game with 50+ receiving yards (53 yards in Week 6) and no touchdowns.

“Maybe in some cases the space is less,” Welker said, “But all of us do a good job of working hard to get open. It’s just one of those deals where you just got to keep working and fighting, and just try to make plays for the team and move the ball down the field.”

The three-time All-Pro said the more likely culprit for his struggles is a cumbersome knee brace he’s donned during games. Problem is, it’s not going anywhere soon.

“I’ll probably keep this one the rest of the year just to be safe,” he said. “As long as I have it, I feel confident. If I don’t have it, I don’t feel confident without it.

Welker, however, added that he has no problem with the drop in production as long as it doesn’t have a negative effect on the Patriots win total.

“As long as we’re winning games and we’re doing well, and even if we’re not, I’m never the type that’s going to be a me guy, just-feed-me type,” Welker said. “We have a game plan, we’ve got to work it. We have a bunch of good players. We have to make sure we’re getting everyone involved.”