In fact, the Minnesota Vikings linebacker said he would have been back in a matter of weeks if it weren’t for the end of the season being less than two weeks away. Mauti had the meniscus in his right knee repaired after injuring it while running to cover a kickoff in the third quarter of New York Jets game on Dec. 7.
Mauti said the latest injury was “totally unrelated” to his previous knee injuries that involved ligament damage.
“I’ve never had any cartilage damage in either of my knees, which is kind of unheard of in that sense. This is a clean-up deal,” Mauti said. “I’ll be good to go in three weeks.”
In one regard, the arthroscopic surgery last week produced some encouraging news.
“It’s encouraging for me after talking with the doctors, when he went in there and was looking around, he was like, ‘I couldn’t believe that you’ve had to the surgery that you had.’ All the other articular cartilage looks perfect other than the meniscus that he fixed,” Mauti said. “It was encouraging for me to hear that. This is minor. This is a speed bump.”
Mauti knows all about serious knee injuries. Between his two knees, he has endured three surgeries to repair torn anterior cruciate ligaments. This is nowhere near as serious and he said he realized that immediately.
“I know what it feels like to have some things go on down there, unfortunately. I think the most encouraging part is that it’s not serious. He cleaned it up,” Mauti said. “I walked out of the surgery that day. If this was during the year, I’d be a couple more weeks and I’d be good to go again. It’s nothing serious, it’s just the fact that there’s only two weeks left of the year that they IR’d me so they can bring another guy up or whatever they have to do. So I’m not concerned with it. I’ll good to go in a month.”
But Mauti also realizes that when people hear of him suffering another knee injury, they immediately think the worst.
“As soon as they say knee, it’s like, ‘Oh, (shoot). Mauti’s got another knee issue,’” said Mauti himself. “But you look around and everybody’s got a little meniscus deal; I’m sure there’s a high percentage. It took 10 minutes to do on the table. I was in and out of there so it’s not something I’m too concerned about.”
So Mauti will wait the prescribed few weeks before he starts to work out again in January, then will hope to earn more playing time next year.
“Obviously I’d like to stay healthy and on the field the whole year,” he said. “I’ve got to just put a whole year together. The good thing is I’ll be healthy when we get in OTAs and have a good offseason, training camp and give it another shot and to (see if) I can crack into the lineup in defense.”