Ravens right tackle Rick Wagner had a strong first season as a starter, which was cut short by a Lisfranc foot sprain that forced him to injured reserve with one game remaining in the regular season.
After undergoing surgery in late December, Wagner said he is aiming toward being ready in time for the first game of next season. Carolina Panthers team orthopedist Dr. Robert Anderson, a Charlotte, N.C., foot and ankle specialist, performed the procedure.
"I should come back for next season. That's the goal to get back for the first game," Wagner said. "It's the kind of injury [where] you have to take it slow. It's not a career-changer. It just needs time to heal."
Wagner is awaiting a timetable for when he'll be able to start rehabilitating his foot. He'll likely be sidelined for the majority of the offseason.
Wagner allowed just two sacks in 15 games and helped running back Justin Forsett rush for a career-high 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns. Wagner turned out to be a big upgrade over former Ravens right tackle Michael Oher, who had a disappointing season with the Tennessee Titans after signing a four-year, $20 million contract last spring.
"I'm pretty proud of the way I played," Wagner said. "There were a lot of unknowns heading into this year, my first year starting and I think it went pretty well. I had a lot of help along the way from the coaches and especially the guys on the offensive line."
In particular, Wagner got a lot of assistance from Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda, who moved over to take Wagner's spot for the final three games.
"He was huge," Wagner said. "I don't think I could have had as good a year playing without playing next to him. He did a great job playing the last couple of weeks."
Wagner acknowledged that it was frustrating to be sidelined in the postseason after being such a big part of the Ravens' offensive turnaround.
"Yeah, it was tough," Wagner said. "I've never really had a serious injury. It's different. It's tough watching the game. I definitely want to get my chance in the playoffs next year."