When tight end Dennis Pitta learned that his fractured and dislocated right hip wouldn't keep him out from the entirety of last season, the biggest question became just how effective and explosive he would be when he returned.
During four games in December after being activated, Pitta proved that his surgically repaired hip was structurally sound. He knocked off the rust quickly, catching 20 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown.
However, what Pitta didn't have was his trademark elusiveness after the catch, and he wasn't quite as quick or fast as in the past, which was understandable given the severity of the injury and his accelerated rehabilitation timetable.
"I'd be lying to you if I said I was 100 percent with my explosion and strength," Pitta acknowledged during a news conference earlier this week to announce his five-year, $32 million contract that includes $16 million guaranteed and an $11 million signing bonus. "I didn't have any pain and I felt good playing, but kind of that quickness and that explosion wasn't all the way back, which was expected."
Now, Pitta says he's getting closer to regaining his old form.
And he'll be able to participate in the entire offseason trainining program that starts April 21.
"The big thing for me right now is just continue to strengthen my hip and my leg and all that," Pitta said. "Typically, you don't regain that four months after surgery, and so that's something that I continue to work on, and I've been training and trying to get that to 100 percent, which I'm close."