If Greg Childs wants any shot of actually playing in 2013, his time is coming.
The Minnesota Vikings' 2012 fourth-round draft choice is 14 months removed from surgery to repair torn patellar tendons in both of his knees, the result of a training camp injury in his rookie season. Childs, understandably, is eagerly anticipating the opportunity.
"I'm very anxious. I ain't practiced and played in a while, so I'm hungry. I feel like I ain't ate in a long time," he said recently while making his way through the Vikings locker room. "I'm pretty hungry right now. But when I get a chance to practice, we'll take it from there."
The 6-foot-3 wide receiver has been a fixture at Winter Park since the Vikings returned from training camp … last year. He has been committed to his rehabilitation and focused on becoming the first player to suffer the injury in both of his knees and return to play in a NFL game.
The Vikings placed him on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Aug. 27, meaning he would miss at least the first six weeks of the regular season. They will then have a three-week window to make a decision on his roster status.
"I'm very confident in everything I do. So once I step back on the field and start practicing, we'll just take it from there," Childs said. "As far as myself … and everyone down here, we'll just take the necessary steps for what's best for me right now. Just like the team, when they put me on PUP to start the season, (general manager Rick Spielman) came up and talked to me, saying it was the best thing to do right now. That's all we tried to do. If I'm ready, I'm ready."
When Childs tore both his patellar tendons on Aug. 11, 2012, landing awkwardly at Vikings training camp, there was concern he may never play again. It was the second time that had happened to his right knee after suffering the injury while playing at Arkansas.
This time, his surgery on the tendons was performed a little differently than the one he experienced on his right knee in college. He said the tendons were tightened up a bit more during surgery.
"It got repaired differently than it did the first time. Plus, I've had time, taking it slow and not really rushing everything," he said. "Just letting it heal up and progressing slowly instead of trying to rush the process.
"When you rush things and you don't give it time to heal up, that's not really helping yourself. Give it time to heal up, just progress slowly. Keep doing the next step and the next step and the next step. It's a better process than just rushing it."
In August, Childs was running hills and said there wasn't anything he couldn't do. The Vikings were hoping he would be able to participate in training camp, but he continued to do his rehabilitation on the side fields and indoors as the Vikings practiced in Mankato.
This time, Childs is hoping the patient approach will be the tactic that gets him back on the field. In two weeks, the Vikings will be able to take Childs off the PUP list and see if he is ready for practice. They will then have three weeks to make a decision – either he is placed on the active roster, supplanting another player, or he could end up back on injured reserve, ending his chance at a comeback this year.
So far, the word from head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman has been encouraging, Childs said.
"He just wants me to keep working. He's happy with the progress. He said he couldn't be happier with where I'm at, as far as me a year ago to now," Childs said. "If somebody just seen me out and about, you wouldn't even know I got hurt. It's just basically coming in here every day and grinding. You can't take no days off."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Vikings WR Childs ‘hungry' to return
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