CHARLOTTE -- Rehabilitating from a sprained knee in time to return to practice Wednesday was a 24-hour job for Jon Beason.
Even as he slept, he received treatment, hooking up an Accelerated Recovery Performance Trainer, more commonly known as the ARP. When he sat, when he relaxed, when he slept, the machine worked, supplementing his workouts at Bank of America Stadium and at home.
"It forces all the other muscles to work harder so that muscle has less strain on it," Beason said. "You sleep with it on and it brings blood flow to the area, which speeds up the healing process. It's on 10 hours a day."
And now it has a new potential spokesman, as Beason credited it and the work of Carolina's athletic training staff with returning him to the practice field.
"I got with our training staff, which did a great job here, and then I've got some stuff at home that I do," Beason said. "It's like anything, if you do more of it, it comes out better."
Beason's return came just two and a half weeks after he was injured in the first quarter of the Aug. 22 preseason loss at Miami. That night, he left the locker room with crutches in tow. Wednesday afternoon, he sprinted, jumped, hustled and made it through the full practice with nary a hitch.
"I feel better than fine," Beason said. "I feel pretty good. The only thing is wearing a brace; it's just annoying. But other than that, it feels good. No pain.
"I tried not to go out there and be ginger with it; I just wanted to go out there and play hard and see where it was, so I could gauge myself."
Throughout the last two weeks, Beason exuded quiet confidence that he would return by Week 1. The only hint of braggadocio came on a Twitter post last week -- and it was more of a rebuke to public doubters than anything else.
"I love that," he said. "I like to think of myself as kind of bionic, that I heal fast. It was an opportunity to prove everybody wrong.
"When it first happened, I knew I had 22 days and I felt it was enough time. So here I am."
BEASON'S IMPORTANCE to the Panthers was underscored by his selection as one of the team's captains for a second consecutive year -- a splendid feat for a player only in his third NFL season. The Panthers' other four captains --
"It's funny, because once you make it, the pressure is on to make it again the next year," Beason said. "I think being named it again means I'm doing my job the way I'm supposed to, and guys still respect me and I'm being accountable.
"That's the No. 1 thing as a captain, and it's an everyday thing."
It's everyday, but in its own way it's extraordinary -- just like his rapid recovery.