ALLEN PARK, Mich. - Detroit Lions safety Louis Delmas has been injured so often since becoming a NFL player that he purchased a hyperbaric chamber for his home.
Ive spent more money on this knee, Delmas said Tuesday following practice. If you walk into my house, youll think I have a whole hospital in that bad boy.
Delmas, entering his fifth season, said he paid 25,000 for the hyperbaric chamber, a sealed vessel with elevated oxygen levels to promote healing.
Some nights, he sleeps in it.
I go in there when Im exhausted, right after practice, Delmas said. If I get in there before 8 oclock, I stay in there for two hours. If I get in any time after eight, nine-ish, I stay in there the rest of the night.
He also owns an ice machine not a lot of people have that, Delmas bragged - along with other medical devices for his home.
This is the price he pays to try to get on the field as often as possible despite chronic knee problems.
Delmas didnt practice that often, played in only one exhibition game for a total of two series (one tackle for loss, one fumble recovery), but this preseason was a success for him.
He appears to be healthier than hes been in quite a while going into Sundays regular-season opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
To be honest with you, a couple weeks ago I didnt expect it to be as good as it is now, Delmas said of his left knee, which was operated on during training camp last year. But my knees great right now. I feel like its my rookie year again.
About two weeks ago, I finally woke up with no pain. It was very stable. Im confident. Im very excited.
Delmas, who missed five games in 2011 and eight games last season, isnt guaranteeing hell play in all 16 this year, but thats his plan.
The way Im feeling right now, I can go 16, he said. But I can trip and fall and get a sprained toe and miss a game. You never know. My goal right now is to play 16, 17 if we go to the playoffs.
The Lions were extremely cautious with Delmas since training camp opened in late July.
But its paid off. They wanted to get him to the regular season healthy and then just hope for the best each week thereafter.
I wasnt out there physically as much as I need to be, but I took every preseason game like a game week mentally, Delmas said. I prepared and I got myself stronger throughout the week like I was going to play on that Sunday. I definitely benefited from it.
Nobody has been more critical of Matthew Staffords passing mechanics than ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, a former NFL quarterback.
Asked what he would say to Jaworski, Stafford joked, Whats up, Jaws? What did I ever do to you?
No, hes a great guy, Stafford added. I actually do like listening to him. He was a really good player and knows what hes talking about.