Bridge­wa­ter suf­fers torn ACL

The Vik­ings’ start­ing QB faces ‘sig­nif­i­cant’ re­cov­ery time af­ter a freak non­con­tact in­jury in prac­tice.

The Daily Herald - - SPORTS - By Matt Vensel Min­neapo­lis Star Tri­bune

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Min­nesota Vik­ings’ Su­per Bowl hopes took a sig­nif­i­cant hit Tues­day af­ter­noon when start­ing quar­ter­back Teddy Bridge­wa­ter suf­fered a ma­jor knee in­jury and faces “sig­nif­i­cant” re­cov­ery time.

Bridge­wa­ter suf­fered a com­plete tear of the an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment in his left knee and will have surgery within the next few days.

The team’s head ath­letic trainer Eric Su­gar­man is­sued this state­ment: “Teddy Bridge­wa­ter suf­fered a non­con­tact in­jury to­day at prac­tice. The in­jury was quickly iden­ti­fied as a dis­lo­cated knee. The in­jury was sta­bi­lized, and he was trans­ported to a nearby hospi­tal for treat­ment and eval­u­a­tion. Af­ter un­der­go­ing an MRI, it was de­ter­mined that Teddy suf­fered a com­plete tear to his ACL and other struc­tural dam­age. For­tu­nately, there ap­pears to be no nerve or ar­te­rial dam­age. Sur­gi­cal re­pair will be sched­uled within the next few days. Al­though the re­cov­ery time will be sig­nif­i­cant, we ex­pect Teddy to make a full re­cov­ery. I would like to thank all of the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als and our ath­letic train­ing staff for all of their help to­day. Teddy has al­ready dis­played the at­ti­tude needed to over­come this in­jury and at­tack his re­hab.”

About 25 min­utes into prac­tice, in the first team drill of the day, Bridge­wa­ter dropped back to pass and crum­pled to the turf with­out be­ing touched.

As Bridge­wa­ter clutched his left knee, line­backer Eric Kendricks and other team­mates spiked hel­mets and shouted ex­ple­tives. Some Vik­ings dropped to one knee in prayer or dis­be­lief as ath­letic

ANDY CLAY­TON-KING / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS Vik­ings quar­ter­back Teddy Bridge­wa­ter (5) warms up be­fore a pre­sea­son game against the Charg­ers this past Sun­day in Min­neapo­lis. Bridge­wa­ter suf­fered a dis­lo­cated knee and torn ACL in prac­tice on Tues­day.

train­ers rushed to the third-year quar­ter­back.

Two min­utes later, coach Mike Zimmer ended prac­tice and sent his play­ers in­side. Run­ning backs Adrian Peter­son and Matt Asi­ata, guard Alex Boone, de­fen­sive end Brian Ro­bi­son, corner­back Ter­ence New­man and backup quar­ter­back Shaun Hill lin­gered on the field, sur­round­ing Bridge­wa­ter as the ath­letic train­ers ap­peared to place an air cast on the quar­ter­back’s left leg.

Soon, an am­bu­lance pulled up to Win­ter Park with sirens blar­ing and whisked Bridge­wa­ter away.

Coach Mike Zimmer met with re­porters two hours af­ter Bridge­wa­ter went down and con­firmed that the quar­ter­back had suf­fered a “sig­nif­i­cant knee in­jury,” ad­ding that he was se­dated and get­ting an MRI at a hospi­tal. Zimmer didn’t see the in­jury live, but af­ter watch­ing prac­tice tape of the in­jury, he called it “a freaky deal.”

Asked if there is any chance Bridge­wa­ter will play this sea­son, he said, “It doesn’t look good right now.”

The Vik­ings were ex­pect­ing a break­out sea­son from Bridge­wa­ter af­ter two solid sea­sons in the NFL in which he com­pleted 64.9 per­cent of his passes for 6,150 yards, 28 touch­downs and 21 in­ter­cep­tions, com­pil­ing an 87.0 ca­reer passer rat­ing. In Fe­bru­ary, he played in his first Pro Bowl as an in­jury re­place­ment.

Bridge­wa­ter’s strong play in train­ing camp trans­lated to the pre­sea­son, when he com­pleted 18 of his 23 pass at­tempts for 253 yards and two touch­downs. In Sun­day’s 23-10 win over the San Diego Charg­ers at U.S. Bank Sta­dium, he showed no signs of the shoul­der sore­ness that side­lined him for the sec­ond pre­sea­son game on Aug. 18 while throw­ing for 161 yards and a touch­down.

An emo­tional Zimmer said he had al­ready reached out on the phone to his men­tor, Hall of Fame coach Bill Par­cells, and spir­i­tu­ally to his late fa­ther, Bill, a long­time high school coach in Illi­nois. He also ref­er­enced the sud­den death of his wife, Vikki, in 2009 when asked about

deal­ing with the “grief” of los­ing Bridge­wa­ter.

The re­silient head coach vowed that the Vik­ings will keep fight­ing if their fears about Bridge­wa­ter’s in­jury come true and dared peo­ple to count them out.

“You know to­day is a dis­ap­point­ing day,” Zimmer said. “We’re not go­ing to stick our heads in the sand. We’re not go­ing to tuck our tail be­tween our legs. We’re not look­ing for ex­cuses. We’re go­ing to go out and fight like we al­ways do. We got some great foot­ball play­ers on this team. We’ll fig­ure ways to win foot­ball games if he’s not here and that’s what we’re go­ing to do.”

For now, Zimmer and the Vik­ings must fig­ure out how to win with Hill.

The 36-year-old was ex­pected to be Bridge­wa­ter’s top backup head­ing into the reg­u­lar sea­son. Un­drafted rookie Joel Stave was vy­ing to make the 53-man ros­ter as their third quar­ter­back with sec­ond-year sig­nal-caller Tay­lor Heinicke still on the non-foot­ball in­jury list af­ter foot surgery in July.

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