IRVINE, Calif. – Logan Bruss found himself in unfamiliar territory on August 19, 2022.
The Rams offensive lineman had left during the second quarter of Los Angeles' preseason game against the Texans with a knee injury, which later turned out to be a season-ending torn ACL and torn MCL.
His rookie season was over before it could even begin.
"I've never dealt with anything like that before," Bruss told theRams.com after Wednesday's training camp practice. "So just kind of figuring out what the process was, and just the mindset needed for that, it took a while."
Nearly a year later, Bruss is in a better place as Rams Training Camp presented by UNIFY Financial Credit Union gets underway.
Up until that point, Bruss had been consistently healthy, especially during his college career at Wisconsin. In 2019, he started in all 13 games he played in (the Badgers played 14 that year including the Rose Bowl). In 2020, he started all six games he played in (Badgers played seven including Bowl game). In 2021, he started all nine games played at right tackle before suffering shoulder and neck injuries that sidelined him for Wisconsin's last three games; he opted out of their bowl game to get healthy and prepare for the NFL Draft.
In other words, he had not missed significant time until those injuries in the final year of his collegiate career.
Bruss said the Rams training staff had a good plan they laid out for him that gave him a clear vision for his path back to feeling like himself again, which helped him out on that journey.
"I just took the mindset of just having the best day I could possibly have every day, wouldn't look too far ahead," Bruss said. "Just kind of stayed in the present, just tried to win the day every day, and eventually that led me to here."
Rams physical therapist/associate athletic trainer Jon Hernandez played an important role in that process – Bruss said he spent more time with Hernandez than anyone else as he went through rehabilitation – in having someone who had helped players through that injury before. Bruss said Hernandez helped keep his spirits high, which was "huge" for him in terms of staying motivated to continue coming in to get the treatment needed.
While a knee injury of his own during the regular season caused offensive lineman Joe Noteboom to join Bruss in the training room, Noteboom's company was something Bruss also valued as he worked his way back.
"Good to have another guy working towards the same goal, playing this same position," Bruss said. "It was unfortunate for him, but it was good I think for both of us to have another guy going through that."
Rams right tackle Rob Havenstein said Bruss has done a "great job," and it's evident that Bruss is putting in the hours in the weight room to get himself back to where his body needs to be and ready to play NFL football.
"He showed some good things in OTAs," Havenstein said. "He brings a size, obviously. He's a big, strong kid, he moves well. Like anyone here, clean some things up technique-wise, but he's a good young player, a big, strong kid, and he's gonna hopefully do some good things for us this year."
As Bruss navigates his second training camp, he's focused on getting his feet back under him and doing whatever's asked of him to the best of his ability, whether be playing guard or tackle. In putting his best foot forward, he hopes to prove enough to be able help the team out at some point this season.
All while also carrying a new perspective.
"It was a long road back, and you realize you can't take anything for granted. It can be taken away from you really quickly," Bruss said. "So just having the opportunity to come back out here and feel good enough to play and compete again, is just an awesome feeling."