Bishop returns, ready to rehab knee

LB Desmond Bishop was back at Winter Park this week for the first time since having surgery to repair his torn ACL. Although free agency and his injury history are in the back of his mind, he is trying to concentrate on his rehab right now. He discussed the essentials.

It was merely coincidence that Desmond Bishop's return to the Vikings locker room occurred the same week the Vikings were preparing to play Bishop's former team, the Green Bay Packers.

The real reason for the linebacker's return was a post-surgery checkup back at Winter Park with the Vikings' medical staff.

As Bishop walked around the locker room with a limp but without the assistance of crutches, he was stopped to discuss his progress and his prognosis. It's been 24 days, he estimated, since renowned surgeon to the athletic stars, Dr. James Andrews, performed surgery on Bishop's torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

"Just coming in. I've been in Pensacola at Dr. Andrews' facility so this is my first day back," Bishop said Wednesday. "Just coming in, see the guys, get in the training room a little bit and get back familiar with the settings being in a Minnesota."

His last three weeks have been spent in Pensacola at Dr. Andrews' facility in the first stages of recovery.

"Little bit of everything. A little bit of leg press for strength and little bit of step-ups – all the little small rehab stuff. Standard stuff. Nothing really significant," Bishop said of his workout routine the last few weeks. "I think the funnest thing is just getting in the pool, walking in the pool with the treadmill. That's been the funnest part. Other than that, it's just other little tedious stuff."

The rehab comes first, and likely for at least the next six to nine months, but in a few months Bishop's thoughts will turn to financial matters as much as physical matters.

After being released by the Packers this spring at the end of their organized team activities and minicamps, Bishop was signed by the Vikings. Because he was coming off a torn right hamstring suffered in a 2012 preseason game and didn't play the entire 2012 season, he was offered and accepted only a one-year, $850,000 contract that included a $100,000 roster bonus.

He will be in a similar situation in March, when his contract with the Vikings expires.

"That's something that is also in the back of my mind. I know it's something I'll have to deal with in the near future, but it's something I can't control really," he said. "The only thing I can control is my rehab and getting back to where I need to be. That's all I'm really focused on, just kind of let the chips fall where they may."

After playing in only four games the last two seasons, his health will once again be a major point of negotiation with any team that may be interested in seeing if he has anything left in his football career. For now, however, he is concentrating on getting better so he can get to that point.

He has a timeframe for returning to football activities.

"I do, but it's like in the back of my mind. Right now, I'm just taking it one day at a time," he said. "But hopefully when the time comes, after adding up all those days, when I get to that certain day, I'm (hoping) I'm where I want to be. Right now, I'm not really focused on it too much."

Despite leaving the warmth of Florida for the dropping temperatures in Minnesota, Bishop said it was good to return and see his teammates once again.

"Absolutely," he said. "I think that's the biggest thing that forced me to come back, just being here with the guys and finishing up the season with them."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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