Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow hopes to begin throwing in February as he recovers from knee surgery

CINCINNATI -- Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow knows the recovery process after his knee surgery is long and will be littered with small benchmarks.

One of the next major ones is less than a month away. In his first media availability since October, Burrow said he hopes to start throwing again in mid-February, which will mark 12 weeks since he had reconstructive surgery on his left knee.

"That's kind of when the next phase of the rehab will start," Burrow told local media on Tuesday.

The No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft arrived in Cincinnati on Sunday after spending the previous six weeks in Los Angeles at the beginning of the recovery process.

Burrow said the first two weeks were "pretty miserable" and he couldn't get out of bed or do anything on his own. Around three or four weeks after the procedure on Dec. 2, Burrow was able to walk around and started to feel normal. He said that he is currently squatting his body weight and that the knee is roughly at 15%.

In a separate interview on Monday with Fox, Burrow said indications from doctors said he's ahead of schedule in his recovery process and said it looks as if he's "about 10 to 12 weeks out from surgery." On Tuesday, he confirmed his intentions to be ready for Week 1 of his second NFL season.

"That's been the goal for me from the beginning," Burrow said. "They say it's a nine-to-12-month recovery, and the first game is exactly nine months from my injury. We are on pace to do it right now.

"There is obviously a long road ahead and there are opportunities for setbacks along the road, but as far as right now, it's looking as good as it could for where I am at in the rehab process."

However, despite the advanced progress, Burrow said he likely will not be available for the preseason.

Burrow was in the midst of a promising rookie season before he suffered his injury on Nov. 22 at Washington. Sources told ESPN that he tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee and also had damage to his PCL and meniscus.

In 10 games, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner completed 65.3% of his passes for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.

On Wednesday, Burrow said the most taxing portion of the recovery process is behind him.

"It's kind of all downhill from here; there's a lot of milestones to hit and a long road ahead," Burrow said. "It's not going to be painful or anything like that. The worst part is over, and the fun part begins."