Mathis has a six-week recovery plan in place after surgery to replace a torn ligament in his toe.
Joe Mathis is determined to make it back for one more game, at least, before the end of his Washington career.
The Huskies’ best edge rusher is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday to repair a torn ligament in his toe, an injury sustained while jogging during practice three weeks ago.
The timeline for recovery and rehabilitation is about six weeks, he said.
“If we go to the Rose Bowl, I’m coming back,” Mathis said in a phone interview Monday evening.
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A senior from Ontario, Calif., Mathis spent the past two weeks rehabbing, hoping to make it back before the end of the regular season. The bone around his big toe “pulled apart,” making it extremely painful to walk. He will have two screws inserted to squeeze the bone back together.
“I was trying to come back, but the bone was just wiggling around in there,” he said. “It was a really hard decision (to have surgery). It’s not about myself. I thought about my team and my son and my wife.”
He came to the realization that he wouldn’t “help the team if I’m only 50 percent” healthy, and added that his replacement, Connor O’Brien, “is doing really good right now — he’s a really good player.”
Even after missing the past three games, Mathis still leads the team with 5.0 sacks and is tied for the team lead with 7.5 tackles for loss. Through six games this season, he was rated by Pro Football Focus as the nation’s most productive edge rusher.
“I’m thankful for Coach Pete and all the coaches and everything they’ve done for me,” he said. “But I wanted to let everyone know I’m gonna be back. I’m gonna be back.”