Mike Zimmer returned to Minnesota Vikings training camp after visiting his ailing dad, but the long road to recovery isn’t over yet for Bill Zimmer.
Mike, his son Adam, the Vikings’ linebackers coach, and daughters Corri and Marki, joined the family in Florida this week to visit Bill, who continues to deal with complications from having a nerve hit when a doctor was inserting a spinal stimulator in his back two years ago.
“The doctor hit a nerve, made his leg go numb, so that was the start of it,” Zimmer said after going through his first practice back with the Vikings on Thursday. “It’s been going two years and then little things here and there, but he hasn’t eaten in about two weeks now. But he’s tough. He’s way tougher than I ever was.”
Bill was scheduled to have another procedure on Thursday that Mike was hoping would put him on the path to recovery.
“I think, hopefully, today’s procedure went good and they’ll eventually get him to a longer term facility. If today’s thing went good then I think he’s going to be OK,” Mike said.
But Mike did have on light-hearted moment even if Bill is having a hard time communicating.
“He’s a (former) football coach and Corri says, ‘Dad, why don’t you watch football practice with him?’ So I took the iPad out and he’s laying in bed flat and he’s got his hands under the covers and I put the iPad in front of him and I’m running plays and, shoot, he’s trying to get his hands on it and he’s holding that iPad and he must have watched it for five minutes. That was pretty cool,” Mike said.
Mike left immediately after Monday’s practice to hurry home to Bill in Florida and said the time with family was good.
“It was really good for my mom, number one, and also my dad. The nurse would tell him to do something he wouldn’t do it but if I told him to do something he wouldn’t do it,” Mike said. “It was good in that way. But the second day he progressed more so and then today they were doing something. I haven’t heard yet how that came out.”