Canes QB King ‘smashing’ ACL rehab, Diaz says

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Miami Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz said Friday that quarterback D’Eriq King is “smashing every benchmark” in his rehab from a torn ACL in his right knee.

Speaking to reporters on Zoom to preview the start of spring practice next week, Diaz gave an update on the Hurricanes’ starting quarterback, injured in the Cheez-It Bowl against Oklahoma State this past December.

Although King won’t participate this spring, Diaz expects him to be ready to go for fall camp. Miami opens the season against Alabama on Sept. 4 in Atlanta.

“He’s smashing every benchmark and every goal they put in front of him, to the point we almost have to slow him down,” Diaz said. “The other day, I’m in the weight room and he’s on an exercise bike and there’s almost steam coming off the wheels because he’s riding the thing so hard. We’re still only 2 months and change from the surgery, so it’s that point where you start to feel good and you have to slow down, you have to be more careful now than you were in the first eight weeks.”

The week before the bowl game, King announced he would return to Miami for one more season. In 2020, King threw for 2,686 yards and 23 touchdowns with five interceptions, also rushing for 538 yards and four touchdowns.

Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said he expects King to be able to throw to receivers and do 7-on-7 work as early as May.

“When it happened, I almost in a joking way was like, ‘What’s the record for the fastest guy coming back from an ACL, because whatever that is, he’s going to beat it,'” Lashlee said. “We don’t have to rush that process, and we’re not going to. I feel really good he’s going to have plenty of time to get ready going into fall camp.”

Diaz also said cornerback Al Blades Jr., who announced in December that he had been diagnosed with myocarditis after going through COVID-19 protocols, has been cleared to resume physical activity. Diaz added that the team is being cautious with Blades and that there is no timetable for when he will return to practice.

Myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, has been linked to COVID-19.

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