SANTA CLARA — Stanford receiver and All-America kick returner Ty Montgomery said he’s in the final stages of his rehabilitation from right shoulder surgery and hopes to play in the opener against UC Davis on Aug. 30.
Montgomery said Wednesday he played through the shoulder injury part of last season before having surgery in February. He also hurt a knee in the Cardinal’s loss to Michigan State in the Rose Bowl, an injury he said was “minor.”
Montgomery said he’s already lifting weights, running routes and catching passes. He said he’s just waiting for team doctors to clear him for contact drills.
“Whenever they tell me I can play, I’m ready to play,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery’s self-diagnosis at Bay Area College Football Media Day at the 49ers’ new stadium sounded more optimistic than what Cardinal coach David Shaw said last week. Shaw said at Pac-12 media days in Los Angeles that Montgomery would probably sit out the season opener and is questionable for Stanford’s home game against Southern California on Sept. 6.
Shaw stuck by that statement Wednesday, but he also said Montgomery might not miss any games. He said team doctors will make the decision on when Montgomery plays.
“I never follow the direction of the player. I always follow the direction of the doctors,” Shaw said. “We’ll see. Ty’s ahead of schedule. He’s ahead of schedule. He’s a phenomenal athlete. And if he’s ready to go Game 1 and the doctors say, ‘You know what, he’s at limited risk for re-injury, let’s let him go play,’ I’m all for it.
“There’s no babying football players,” Shaw added. “If Ty’s ready to go, he’s returning kickoffs, he’s playing the game. If he’s not, we’ll hold him off. I don’t have an issue with that.”
Montgomery missed spring practices because of his shoulder injury and is expected to be limited at the beginning of training camp, which begins Monday.
Montgomery had a breakout season as a junior, leading Stanford in receptions (61), yards receiving (958) and touchdown catches (10). He also had 1,091 yards and two TDs returning kicks to earn first-team All-America honors.
Shaw compared Montgomery to former wide receivers Tim Brown and Irving Fryar, both of whom he saw as an NFL assistant. But he also admitted those comparisons to Montgomery at this stage of his development are unfair.
Shaw recognizes what Montgomery means to Stanford’s offense. He said Montgomery has been clocked at 4.42 in the 40-yard dash and his physical skills are “off the charts.”
The key is keeping him healthy. Montgomery was sidelined as a sophomore for some of the 2012 season when he partially tore a posterior cruciate ligament in his knee. He finished with just 26 catches for 213 yards and no touchdowns as Stanford was transitioning quarterbacks.
As a freshman, Montgomery caught 24 passes for 350 yards, including a career-high seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown from Andrew Luck in the Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma State.