THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The first knee surgery happened during the offseason program. Then the second procedure in August.
Overall, Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson's two surgeries delayed his 2022 season debut until Week 8, and even, then, he wasn't back closer to his normal snap count until Week 12.
The 2023 offseason finds him in a much better place.
"It was tough, it was a tough process to go through," Jefferson said. "But from the games I got back, got to experience a lot of things, got to do a lot of things. I think this offseason was just about me getting healthy. Obviously the knee injury, having two surgeries is tough, but like I said, I persevered through that, and now it's just about me getting my balance back together, getting the strength in both legs, and being able to do the things I know I'm able to do. It's been great being back and working with Grif (strength and conditioning associated John Griffin), (associate athletic trainer) Mark (Dydasco) and (Vice President, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and those guys, getting back to myself and I'm feeling pretty good."
Los Angeles' offense thrives with a healthy and involved Jefferson, as the late stages of the 2022 season showed.
A big play threat, he averaged 15.6 yards per reception across his 11 games played last year, with a long of 39. Of Jefferson's 24 total receptions, nearly one-third (7) went for 20-plus yards.
Now, he may find himself in a bigger role as the second-most experienced receiver on the Rams' roster after Allen Robinson II was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I mean, I just approach every day as it is, just trying to get better every day," Jefferson said, when asked if being the most experienced receiver other than Cooper Kupp changes his approach. "Obviously we know Cooper's the main guy in the room, but obviously everyone can learn from each other. So I just take on that role of whoever I can help, I can help, leading by example and just going from there."
Just as being past those surgeries will set up a brighter 2023 season for Jefferson, so too will having starting quarterback Matthew Stafford throw during offseason workouts after not doing so last spring.
"Oh yeah, I think that makes a huge difference," Jefferson said. "I think (it does) for all the guys that are out there throwing with Matt. He's looking great, he's always been great, so it's just great to be out there with him again and see him healthy, and see him slinging it like he does. It's good to just be out there and get some passes with him."