|by Nikki Hood|
The redshirt junior wide receiver tore his ACL during the off week before Florida State last season, and after working during the spring and summer to rehab the knee and get back into playing shape, Peake tore the meniscus in the same knee.
Luckily for Peake, a torn ACL and a torn meniscus are completely different, making the recovery time and rehab for the second injury a little easier. Two weeks out since having his knee scoped, Peake is back on the field and practicing almost at full speed – just under a year since suffering his first injury.
“It feels good. I got a little taste of it during the summer, but it’s been about a year since I’ve been out there with my teammates,” Peake told the media Monday afternoon. “It feels really good to be back out there.”
Although his knee isn’t 100 percent, Peake feels confident that he can physically do anything asked of him by the coaches.
“I feel good. I’m not far from 100 percent but it will come,” Peake said. “I feel like I’ve still got my same speed and can cut the same. I’m just getting the little stuff taken care of with treatment. There is no hesitation at all. My knee feels nice and strong.”
However, the difficult part comes with the mental aspect and worrying about the injured knee.
“With all knee injuries, it's a mental thing,” he said. “You have to talk to yourself to prepare everyday. I took my time coming back to practice, because I didn't want to just hop out there and re-injure myself. I wanted to be 100-percent comfortable when I'm out there on the field.”
The Moore (SC) Dorman product said that being able to work with his teammates during the summer helped him gain more confidence.
“I haven't been hit since the South Carolina St. game last year,” he said. “Just getting out there in the summer doing everything with my teammates - being there, catching passes, having guys around me - got me more comfortable. When that first hit comes, I'll be good.”
Peake and starting quarterback Cole Stoudt have built chemistry during their time working with second team over the last three years, but Peake said that being able to participate in summer skills and drills helped enhance that chemistry.
“I was out there with Cole all summer. We had some connections today,” he said. “Since I got here, me and him were going in the second group. He was behind Tajh and I was behind Jaron Brown and Nuk Hopkins, so we already had that connection going and we just built it up even more this summer.”
If number 19 is called on in a little over two weeks in Athens, Peake said that he will be ready to go – physically and mentally.
“My goal is to be back for Georgia,” he said. “The game is a lot easier than practice, so I feel like I shouldn't have a problem getting into football shape. I get my conditioning in at the beginning of practice and then I go watch practice. I've been able to run for about a week since I had my scope.”
Nikki Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org