Less than five months after the anterior cruciate ligament was broken in his right knee, Alabama outside linebacker Terrell Lewis returned to practice.
Lewis was seen in the field on Monday at the indoor facility of Hank Crisp and was fitted with a clamp while performing individual exercises.
It's a pretty amazing development considering that Lewis suffered the injury in early July and that his availability this season was very much in doubt, given the prescribed schedule that is normally set for recovery from an ACL tear. Until November 14, even Alabama coach Nick Saban admitted that he had not contemplated the possibility of Lewis playing in 2018.
"I never spoke with Terrell about what his interests would be," he said. "I have not even talked to the doctor about when I would eliminate him medically.
But as unlikely as it seemed, Lewis hinted that a comeback was imminent on his Instagram page this Sunday.
"Discussing if I should continue where I left off," he wrote next to a photo of him celebrating a sack of Georgia's Jake Fromm in the national championship game last January.
The Crimson Tide faces Georgia on Saturday in the SEC title game.
Before being relegated to a rehabilitation season, Lewis was expected to be an integral member of the team's passing career. With 6 feet 5 feet and a weight of 256 pounds, it has enormous potential.
"He's a complete outside linebacker," said teammate Christian Miller. "So I think he would help a lot."
But throughout his tenure at Tuscaloosa, Lewis has not been able to stay healthy. Last season, he lost ten games after suffering a ligament damage in his elbow.
He then returned to the Iron Bowl and College Football Playoff, recording 11 tackles along with a sack during those three appearances. Now, Lewis has offered the best signal that another return is possible at the end of the season.
Rainer Sabin is an Alabama Beat Group writer for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @RainerSabin