BEREA, OHIO (AP) - Dave Zastudil was determined to make this season better than his last.
The pain won’t let him.
Zastudil was placed on injured reserve Tuesday by the Cleveland Browns after his surgically repaired right plant leg did not respond enough to rehab and rest for him to kick this season. Zastudil missed half of 2009 with a torn patellar tendon, which was surgically repaired during the offseason.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Zastudil, who grew up in suburban Bay Village and played at Ohio University. “I’d give anything to be out there with the guys and play for the Browns. That’s why I’m here.”
Zastudil kicked on the first day of training camp but said his knee, which has been bothering him for two years, “flared up.” He was on the field for a few more days in uniform before he went to Colorado to have his knee examined by noted orthopedist Dr. Richard Steadman, who performed surgery on him in early December.
However, Zastudil’s knee didn’t get better, and after consulting with the team and his doctor, it was decided that he would be best served not to kick this season.
“I did everything I could, the trainers did everything they could to get me back in time and I really thought I’d be ready to go,” he said. “Obviously, the healing process just isn’t quite finished yet. There’s still some rehab I’m going to have to be doing to get this tendon right.
“It’s just not quite ready to go.”
Zastudil is the third player from the Cleveland area signed by the Browns as a free agent in 2006 to have a major knee injury. Center LeCharles Bentley and wide receiver Joe Jurevicius both had their careers cut short by knee injuries that worsened because of staph infections.
“He’s worked hard,” Mangini said following Tuesday’s morning practice. “He’s worked with his doctor and our doctor and tried a lot of different things and was not making any progress. I thought we had turned the corner and we hadn’t, so this was the next step.”
At the time he was sidelined last season, Zastudil was ranked No. 1 in the league in punts inside the 20-yard-line. He angled 25 of his 49 kicks out of bounds inside the opponents’ 20, and finished sixth in the AFC in that department despite kicking in just eight games.
“I’ll always be a Cleveland Brown,” he said. “When my career is over, I’ll still be going to Cleveland Browns games. That’s one of the hardest things for me, knowing that there’s a chance I may not be here and how much I love the city and how much I love the fans. I’m going to do everything I can to come back and do the best I can and try to help a team somewhere.”