- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Stephen Bowen said Monday he expects to be ready for training camp in late July after he underwent microfracture surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee in early December.

Bowen, speaking to reporters at the Brian Orakpo Leukemia Golf Challenge at Trump National Golf Club, said doctors have told him he is “pretty much on schedule” in his recovery.

“I met with Dr. [Christopher] Annunziata probably about a month ago, and he told me everything looks good,” Bowen said, referring to the team orthopedist. “I had another doctor look at it and he did an ultrasound on my knee. He could see that the cartilage was actually filling in, so that was good to hear, you know?”

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The defensive end tore the PCL in his right knee in the Redskins’ victory over the Chicago Bears on Oct. 20, but he chose not to get it repaired because it would heal naturally on its own and because undergoing surgery would require at least a six-month recovery.

But he continued to experience soreness and irritation in the knee, and it was determined in late November that he had damage to one of his menisci. After consulting with the team’s medical staff, he underwent microfracture surgery, which stimulates cartilage growth, on Dec. 3.

As a 30-year-old defensive end with a contract that is set to count for $7.02 million against the salary cap this season, Bowen seems to be a candidate to be asked to have that contract restructured if he’s not outright released.

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Bowen, though, said he hasn’t been approached about either possibility, and despite the surgery, he remains confident he can be one of the better players in the league at his position.

“I know what I bring to the table,” Bowen said. “I know that there’s not too many people that can do what I do, and I know I have great ability, so that’s never been a question for me.”

The Redskins added insurance for Bowen’s absence in March when they signed one of Bowen’s closest friends, former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, to a four-year, $27.9 million contract.

Hatcher, who spent his previous seven seasons as a defensive end in the Cowboys’ 3-4 defense, moved to the inside of the line last year as they switched to a 4-3 front, but figures to return to his old alignment, in place of Bowen, with the Redskins.

“I’ll let the chips fall where they fall, but for me, I’m very confident in my ability,” Bowen said. “I know I’m one of the top 3-4 D-ends in the league. I don’t think that for what they ask me to do, there’s nobody really who can do better than what I do. That’s not me being cocky. It’s me being confident in my ability. As for me, definitely, I think I’ll be a starter next year again.”