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Malik Hooker: “I feel like I’m ahead of pace” in rehab

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NCAA Football: Ohio State at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Though the rehab of quarterback Andrew Luck is rightfully taking the headlines this offseason when it comes to an injured Colts player, there are other significant players currently rehabbing from injuries as well.

One of those players is safety Malik Hooker, who was the team’s first round pick in this year’s draft. He’s expected to start, but so far he hasn’t practiced at all with the Colts. He’s been spending the offseason program learning as much as he can and rehabbing, and all along the expectation has been that he will be back in time for training camp.

At the Colts’ Town Hall this past week, however, Hooker said that he feels like he’s ahead of schedule.

“I’m just constantly rehabbing,” he said, according to Colts.com. “Right now I feel like I’m ahead of pace from where I wanted to be at this time, and for me it’s just constantly hitting rehab and making sure that when I come back, I come back to how I was before I had my injury.”

Of course, given that this upcoming week is the final one of the offseason program, it might not make a big difference to Hooker on-the-field if he’s back earlier than expected, since he was expected to be back by training camp anyway. But it’s never a bad thing for a player to be ahead in his rehab, and hopefully it means that he’ll be ready to go when camp rolls around.

There will be an adjustment period in camp for him, to be sure, as he’ll try to get up to speed with the NFL game on-the-field. But assuming he does well in that acclimation, he’ll probably be a starter for the Colts as a rookie and should be a difference-maker in the secondary, where his skills in coverage and in forcing turnovers could prove huge for an Indy defense that could desperately use help in those areas (and in plenty of others, too).