A week out from knee surgery and just a month removed from his first Pro Bowl appearance, left tackle Andrew Whitworth is confident the Bengals longest streak of 67 straight starts in the regular and postseason is going to remain intact.

After Bengals doctor Marc Galloway's procedure to remove scar tissue last week, Whitworth has begun getting up and around in the first stages of rehab and is already revived knowing he won't have to play through the pain of the past two seasons.

"I thought it was a thing I could tough out, but it kind of wears on you," Whitworth says. "It was time to get it fixed and I feel great. I don't feel any different than the first day I played in the NFL."

Whitworth, who turned 31 late last season, is a year-to-year guy. But after doctors looked into his knees and found them to be remarkably pristine after 102 NFL starts, if you ask him now he says he thinks he can play five more seasons.

"Everything I heard from the doctors is that the knee looked really clean and that makes you feel good when you're over 30," he says. "Honestly, the way I feel, yeah. I haven't really felt the effects yet of playing this game. I don't feel it necessarily in my body day-to-day. I'm still excited to put on a helmet.

"That's the No. 1 goal. When guys lose the inspiration and excitement about it and stop training for it, that's when they're heading down the road. But I'm still excited to work my butt off and to be on a good young team who has its best years in front of it."

Five more seasons and about another 80 games would put Whitworth in the rarified air of the franchise's two best tackles. Hall of Fame left tackle Anthony Muñoz played 185 games in 13 seasons, the fifth-most in Bengals history. Four-time Pro Bowl right tackle Willie Anderson played 181 in 12 years.

Whitworth, who has made 77 starts at left tackle and 25 at left guard, has played every game in six of his seven seasons and every game since he became the regular left tackle in '09, with the only blip coming when he missed the last six games of the 2008 season with a high ankle sprain.

He's not sure of this time frame, but there's a chance that Anthony Collins and others are going to be taking those snaps at left tackle during the May and June camps while Whitworth fully expects to be ready "when the pads come on" the first day of training camp.