Before Texans starting left offensive guard Lane Taylor could shed the rust he accumulated over the past year, he had to traverse a lengthy rehabilitation process from two knee surgeries.
Taylor tore his anterior cruciate ligament a year ago with the Green Bay Packers. Then, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to address a cartilage issue.
Promoted from the practice squad after starting the season on the physically unable to perform list, Taylor has started the past two games. It was a difficult process to reach this point, though, including having the surgery after not being able to squat or run after an organized team activity.
“It’s been a long road,” Taylor said. “Last year I tore my ACL Week 1, so it was tough to watch the season. Fortunate to sign here in the offseason, and really grinded my way back. I had a cleanup this summer just to clean up a little cartilage. Just battled my way back to get back right, and I feel good and healthy now. I’m very fortunate to be playing again.
“I think it would’ve been a little quicker if I didn’t have a scope in the summer. I would’ve been primed and ready to go for training camp, but it kind of is what it is. Things happen, so I just kind of worked through it and battled through it and came back. It was very unexpected. It just happened. It kind of popped up really one day, so just had to take care of it.”
Taylor has formed a tandem with left tackle Tytus Howard, building chemistry quickly. And Taylor, 32, has drawn praise from the coaching staff for his work.
“Each week, we’re going to build together,” Taylor said. “We’re always picking each other’s brains to see what we’re thinking. He’s a good player, talented, and he has a lot of experience himself. That’s a nice little cushion to have.”
Taylor, who signed a one-year contract with the Texans during the offseason after visiting the San Francisco 49ers, has played in four games. Taylor has now played in 82 career games with 52 career starts.
In 2017, the former All-Big 12 selection from Oklahoma State signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract extension with the Packers after starting every game for the first time in his career.
“I feel like I’ve been building, just staying sharp and staying on top of my craft,” Taylor said. “Over the weeks, just got more and more prepared for the season.”
Taylor’s background with offensive line coach James Campen from Green Bay has paid dividends.
“It’s awesome having a familiar person like Campen in the room,” Taylor said. “He knows me better than anyone. He knows what level I need to play at and I trust him a lot. I’m very blessed to have him as my coach.”