Aug. 27, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEO
It has been a long road back for 49ers cornerback Phillip Adams, who sustained the Buster Posey injury five months before Buster Posey.A week ago, Adams fielded a Raiders punt, darted between would-be tacklers Jon Condo and Josh Bullocks and then veered toward the right sideline. Adams showed a bust of speed he had not shown since camp opened en route to a 32-yard return.The play signified a significant development in Adams' comeback from a gruesome broken left ankle he sustained Dec. 26 while blocking on a kickoff return against the St. Louis Rams. Adams spent most of the offseason unable to run while the bone healed.The mental barrier Adams said he had to overcome was lining up 45 yards down field, all alone, to field a punt with opposing players bearing down on him. It's much like a catcher awaiting a throw from the outfield with a baserunner coming down the third-base line.
Adams does not know much about the Giants' catcher who sustained a season-ending injury in May in a collision at home plate. But he said his trainer told him that Posey's injury was identical to the one Adams sustained. It's an injury from which Adams now feels fully recovered.
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"Coach put me out there to see what I can do -- to see if I'm healthy enough to do it," Adams said. "And I am. I feel like I'm back to where I was.""You're very vulnerable in that situation when you're returning a punt. It's a risky situation, and it's one of the hardest things to do on the football field. The confidence was there in practice. The game was icing on the cake. I work hard in practices to catch punts."I think I can do punt returns in this league and on this team, and I'm getting the opportunity."The 49ers selected Adams of South Carolina State in the seventh round of the 2010 draft. He earned a roster spot and saw action, mostly on special teams, in the first 15 games before sustaining the injury.Adams is not eligible for the practice squad, so it's all or nothing for him as a second-year pro. He remains in a battle to earn a roster spot on a team that also features cornerbacks Carlos Rogers, Shawntae Spencer, Tarell Brown, Tramaine Brock and rookie Chris Culliver."For me, it's climbing the mountain again," Adams said. "I'm used to dealing with adverse situations as a player. There are a bunch of great players at my position. I'll continue to work hard and earn the trust of my teammates and my coaches."The most important part is that Adams has regained the trust that he is healthy enough to give him a strong chance to succeed."My coaches believe my body is sound and they put me out there," Adams said. "I feel good. My body feels good. Practice has been good. Repetitions are going good. The team's going good, so I'm feeling good."