Barr surgery waiting on preferred doctor

Anthony Barr’s date and surgeon are still in flux, waiting on preferred surgeon’s availability.

Anthony Barr’s surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus is in limbo while he considers if he wants to wait for his surgeon of choice or having the procedure done sooner.

Barr would prefer to have the surgery performed by the renowned Dr. James Andrews, but because of Andrews’ schedule with other surgeries and his duties with the Alabama, Auburn and the Washington Redskins football teams, Andrews wouldn’t be able to perform the surgery for a few weeks, Barr said.

Either way, the Minnesota Vikings star linebacker is expected to be ready for the team’s offseason program this spring.

The importance of the No. 9 overall draft pick is being felt as he has missed the Vikings’ last three games.

“Anytime you have a guy like Anthony not playing it hurts, but in the National Football League it’s the next man up,” middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley said. “We have a great group of linebackers, any one of us can go out and play any position, we just have to go out and communicate.”

Barr initially hurt his knee Nov. 16 against the Chicago Bears when he said he got his leg caught up under him while going to the ground, but he tried to play through the injury. He started the next two games, but wasn’t able to play in the second half of that second game, against the Carolina Panthers.

Up until that point, he had been one of the team’s most used defenders and had led the team in tackles. He finished the season with 99 tackles, four sacks, four tackles for losses, 13 quarterback hurries, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, including one that he returned for a game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“He can rush. He can cover. He’s a complete linebacker,” Brinkley said.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer admitted on Monday that not having the versatile Barr – who was used to rush the passer, stop the run, and in coverage – has altered some of the defensive calls the head coach can make.

“You’re always going to change calls based on who you have and who you don’t have and who they have and who they don’t have,” Zimmer said. “Yeah, there’s some things that we were doing more often than what we’re doing now because we don’t have the same personnel.”

Coincidence or not, the Vikings gave up a season-high 493 yards of offense to the Miami Dolphins without Barr on Sunday. In fact, in the three games he has missed since the injury took him out of action, the defense has given up two of the three highest yardage totals of the season – 493 to the Dolphins on Sunday and 422 to the New Jets in the first full game Barr missed.

“Barr is a good player and if he was playing it would help us,” Zimmer said, “(but) that had nothing to do with (Sunday’s defensive letdown).”

After missing most of his rookie offseason practices because of UCLA’s class schedule last spring, Barr said last week he believes he will be a full participant in the team’s offseason program, despite the upcoming surgery.

“I don’t think it’s going to slow it down. My season just ended a little earlier than everyone else’s,” Barr said. “I’ve just got to continue to improve and I know I have a whole offseason to do that so I’m looking forward to doing that, getting back on the field.”


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