RVD on the road to recovery

Former Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam has been out of action since January with a serious knee injury. Since that time, he's been hard at work on the road to recovery. Aside from an appearance on ECW One Night Stand and Monday Night RAW the night he was drafted, WWE fans haven't been able to see on RVD on TV. WWE.com caught up to Mr. Monday Night to get his thoughts on his injury, future, ECW and more.

WWE.com: How's the knee feeling?

RVD: The knee's feeling pretty good. It takes a long time to come back from an ACL replacement. The meniscus was also repaired. It's been seven months now. From what I've heard from athletes that have had this done before and from doctors and therapists, they say to expect 12 months before the ACL is 100 percent. It's feeling good right now. It's a little sore because I've been having some intense workouts and therapy, but at the same time no one wants me to come back too early because I can re-injure it. So, I'm at a point now where I'm going to get tested in a few days to find out what kind of expectations we can have for my return.

WWE.com: When are you hoping to be cleared to return?

RVD: The actual plan is to go back to Dr. Andrews who did the surgery. They're going to test me at their facilities and give me an idea of when to expect to go back to work. I've never been through this before, so I don't know what to expect. My knee isn't causing me a lot of pain, and I feel a lot better than I did before the surgery, but in my mind I know there's no way I can go back to work tonight full-time and hit that Five-Star Frogsplash every night. I really don't want to return to the ring until I'm back to my 100 percent, acrobatic, athletic self. And one thing is for sure, I don't take it easy when it's time to go to work, so you can be sure once I go out there I'll be testing everything I've got.

WWE.com: What kind of rehab have you had to do?

RVD: It's been very intense. I have some good trainers here in L.A. I start out with some jump-roping on the one leg. I do some sideways runs, jumping over small hurdles, one-legged squats with weights, multi-directional lunges, a lot of callisthenic work using my leg to move my body in different directions you wouldn't normally think of doing, standing on one leg on a balance bored while throwing punches with dumbbells. It's quite a good sweat and can cover every angle. It's the kind of work out you don't get from just hitting the gym.

WWE.com: What has it been like being away for so long?

RVD: I've been fairly active, meeting the fans. I've done a lot of autograph signings at comic conventions or celebrity or gaming conventions. I've been doing a lot of promotional work. WWE's been sending me around to promote the towns we go to. Last month they sent me to England and Australia and I've been traveling around the States a lot, too. I've probably been traveling a tenth of what I'm used to so that's been a nice break because flying is probably the toughest part of the job. It's been nice to be able to relax and count on getting some consistency in sleep and workouts, which is something I never get to do when I'm on the road. And I have a good home life. A lot of the guys can't wait to get on the road every week, but I'm one of the guys who enjoy spending time with my wife and that's made it a lot easier. In fact, when I go back, I plan on bringing her on the road with me a lot more.

WWE.com: How does this compare to when you were out with a broken ankle in ECW?

RVD: It's not even really comparable. Back then I had a hairline fracture in my ankle. They put me in a cast, slapped me on my ass and sent me on my way. They told me to take a couple months off. I was back in 2 ½-3 months later and didn't miss a beat. I wasn't even rusty and I don't feel like I will be now even if I have to take 12 months off. I feel like when I get back in the ring I'll be good to go. I've been doing this almost 16 years, and it doesn't even feel like its been that long since I've been in the ring. It probably feels longer for the fans than it does for me.

They didn't do surgery back when I fractured my ankle, so it was just a matter of staying off my foot, then putting a little weight on it, then running and kicking. This time it was a major surgery. They grafted my patella tendon to use as my new ACL. They screwed it in there with these screws that are made out of bone material that will actually get absorbed into my bone. Instead of cutting out my torn meniscus, they actually sewed it, which will give me more protection although it will take a little more to come back from. It has been some serious down time and it's been hard to accept. I didn't want the surgery; I was kicking and screaming all the way into the surgical room, but once I reached the stage of acceptance I was ok with the process. If it takes me another couple of weeks that's cool. If it takes me another three or four months then that's cool too. I'm going to come back when I'm 100 percent.

WWE.com: Have you been keeping up with RAW since you've been drafted and are you looking forward to the change of scenery?

RVD: I prefer the live format of RAW. I believe my talents are better formatted for live television. I also decided after watching SummerSlam that I want to wrestle HBK when I get back.

WWE.com: You were pretty outspoken at ECW One Night Stand and also on Carlito's Cabana. Can the fans expect to see more of this RVD?

RVD: After the ECW One Night Stand I think I made an impression on some people. That was a moment to extend the ECW spirit on WWE's platform, which is something that was never done before and definitely needs to be done again. My part, since I wasn't cleared to wrestle, was just to get on the mic and speak my mind and from the heart. It was completely unscripted, unrehearsed and unapproved. Nobody asked what I was going to say -- not Paul Heyman, not Vince, nobody. So, I went out there and was able to tell everyone what I really wanted them to hear. They liked the fact that I had a side of me I actually liked to show instead of just a side they pull out, which is just a very, very small side of who I am. I never felt like they've understood me. When I first came to WWE, they thought I was a surfer. They totally didn't get me, and they still don't, and maybe that's part of me being one of a kind. Let me explain myself to you, and I think that's what they like now. When I went back for the draft they wanted me to show that same energy I showed at One Night Stand, to show that same spirit. I expect more of the same in the future, and hopefully that will put me in a more important role in the show. I had several very important people come up to me and basically emotionally hug me and say, "That's it, that was the missing ingredient, that's what you needed, now you have it all." I've always had that. Now that I've shown it, let's see what else I can show you.

WWE.com: It's been a few months, but what are your overall thoughts on ECW One Night Stand?

RVD: I loved it. I absolutely loved it. It was very emotional for me. It was like a time warp. It was surreal how authentic the night was to have the same wrestlers in there performing just like they did five years ago -- the same ring, the same security, the same fans and all that same energy. It was awesome, and I'm glad that we got to share it on WWE's platform to the world, to the WWE wrestlers and even to Vince. I just wish I could have put the boots on and show everyone I'm the best wrestler on the planet. I suppose that's what the next one will be for.

WWE.com: Do you have any closing comments for your fans?

RVD: I've enjoyed meeting thousands and thousands of fans during these last few months I've been off all around the world. Until I get back in the ring, I'll go out whenever I can to these autograph signings. Everybody keeps saying "we want you to come back and get that WWE Championship." So, keep sending that energy to me and if enough energy is output we're going to have to do something with that.

Related Content:
Rob Van Dam photos
ECW One Night Stand webcast


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