ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Safety Quinton Carter still has a long ways to go in his recovery from a knee injury that landed him on injured reserve in September.
But the second-year safety was pleased with the progress he had made by the time the Broncos' season came to a close, even as activities like running and jumping remain on the horizon.
"I'm feeling good," Carter said as he cleaned out his locker. "Being almost four months into the six-to-nine month recovery, I feel like it's coming along well. I haven't had any setbacks, any swelling. The doctors are all saying good things about it, so I'm anxious about it."
Since his injury, Carter's priorities – fulfilling the steps along his road to recovery – have been different from those of his teammates, whose season ended in the Divisional Round against Baltimore. With the year now over, Carter's next few months will also hardly resemble those of his teammates, most of whom will be taking some time to rest and recover. Carter, on the other hand, will be hard at work, looking to make steady progress at the team's Dove Valley training facility.
"Everybody else is getting ready to go set off on the offseason, but I'm still here working," Carter said in January. "My mindset is just grind."
Carter started 10-of-16 games in 2011 as a rookie, then played in the team's first three games of 2012 and recorded a pair of special-teams tackles before being placed on injured reserve on September 29. He admits that the injury initially took a substantial toll, both mentally and physically. But he quickly recognized that he had no time to spend feeling sorry for himself.
"Naturally I was very down," Carter said. "But you always have to look at the brighter side of the situation and know that my future would just be dependent on the way I worked. I just have to work hard and make a way. If it was easy, everybody would do it."
Now, Carter is encouraged by the progress he has already made, and occasionally amazed by what he has gone through.
"When I just sit by myself, it's hard to believe I haven't run in almost 16 weeks, that type of thing," Carter said. "It will be a major change and a major blessing just to get rid of this little problem and just move forward toward being healthy for next season."
Though Carter's physical activity has been limited, he hasn't let his predicament prevent him from trying to become a better football player. Unable to get physical reps on the field, Carter has instead focused on soaking up as much game film as possible.
"You just watch and analyze, every position too," Carter said. "You start to see more, learn more. I think it's helped me grow over this season. Like I said, I'll be here this offseason getting film work in and whatnot. I think it will be a big thing for me."
While aware that plenty of work remains, Carter is already excited for the start of the Broncos' 2013 training camp, when he anticipates being at full speed physically, and perhaps even better than before mentally.
"I should be," Carter said. "If I'm back healthy with no pain in my knee and whatnot, it will mean great things."