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MATCHUP OF THE
JAVON WALKER decided one thing early on: He wasn't going to play with any sort of knee brace. The last thing the Broncos wide receiver wanted was another mental hurdle to clear during the rehab process. Walker, who suffered a torn right ACL last September with the Packers, wasn't swayed by the added comfort and support that even an elastic sleeve could provide for his surgically repaired knee. He would work it back to where he could play without worrying about it buckling.
Drafting a player who's coming back from a serious injury is always a gamble for fantasy owners, but Walker could very well prove to be worth the risk. By not babying himself he has been able to cut confidently on pass routes. Neither has he been tentative when it comes to leaping for balls in traffic. Most encouraging, he made it through his first two weeks of camp without any soreness or swelling in the joint.
Walker is about 10 months removed from surgery--doctors told him that it takes a year to get back to normal--and says he's about 80 to 85% recovered. At his rehab pace he looks like a solid No. 2 fantasy receiver. Even if he doesn't produce the stats he achieved during his breakout season of 2004 (89 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns), he should still put up good numbers in an offense that will be more aggressive this season.