BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Wearing an LSU helmet, shoulder pads and a yellow practice jersey, Zach Mettenberger took a mock snap and rolled hard to his right, rifling passes to former LSU receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
Less than four months after reconstructive left knee surgery, Mettenberger came away from LSU's pro day looking a lot like the quarterback who racked up 3,082 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.
"That was one of the biggest things we wanted to show," Mettenberger said after Wednesday's workout, which was viewed by numerous NFL personnel. "Just my knee health and mobility was a lot in question. I was able to roll out and throw accurate balls with something behind them.
"It was fun. I've been saying for a couple weeks now that I was healthy and good enough to go and I don't think all of y'all believed me," Mettenberger added. "The biggest thing I wanted to do is show that I could go out there, take an explosive drop and throw down field like everyone knows I can."
Mettenberger's college career ended as he unloaded a 32-yard completion to Landry during LSU's regular season finale against Arkansas on Nov. 29. Taking a hit as he threw, Mettenberger tore his anterior cruciate ligament and sprained his medial collateral ligament. Doctors gave the latter injury time to heal before repairing the ACL in January with a piece of Mettenberger's hamstring.
LSU head athletic trainer Jack Marucci said that while ACL repairs have traditionally been performed using a piece of the patient's patellar tendon, LSU and the Tigers' orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Brent Bankston, have had a lot of success using hamstrings for more than a decade. Marucci mentioned a host of other LSU players who've had the same procedure and returned quickly to training, including running backs Stevan Ridley and Joseph Addai.
Marucci said Cybex tests — in which a machine is used to comparatively measure the strength of both legs — showed that Mettenberger's left leg was about 95 percent as strong has his healthy leg. Mettenberger, who his right handed, pushes off with his healthy right leg when he throws.