With Minnesota Vikings teammates throwing helmets on the ground and throwing out expletives at the sight of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater laying on the ground after rolling out to throw a pass in Tuesday’s practice, it was the first indication of just how serious Bridgewater’s knee injury is.
The signs only got worse as the cart came onto the field, players knelt around him to pray as he lay on the ground, and an ambulance arrived at Winter Park only minutes later. Head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t have all the details about two hours after the injury, but called it “significant.”
Hours later, the diagnosis was a dislocated knee with a complete ACL tear and other “other structural damage,” according to a statement by Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman.
“Fortunately, there appears to be no nerve or arterial damage. Surgical repair will be scheduled within the next few days,” Sugarman said. “Although the recovery time will be significant, we expect Teddy to make a full recovery. I would like to thank all of the medical professionals and our athletic training staff for all of their help today. Teddy has already displayed the attitude needed to overcome this injury and attack his rehab.”
Before the results of the MRI were available, Zimmer said it was “possible” the injury would be season-ending, and that was confirmed several hours later.
“I don’t know,” he said before the results of the MRI came back, adding: “It doesn’t look good right now.”
The medical assistance call for an ambulance at Winter Park came in as a “dislocated knee.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, Bridgewater was sedated at the hospital and going through tests as Zimmer spoke to the media.
The head coach said he didn’t see the injury happen on the field, but in his review of the film said it appeared to be non-contact, something that Sugarman later confirmed.
“I just told him hang in there and we hope the best for him,” Zimmer said.
Zimmer said he spoke with Bill Parcells, who was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys when Zimmer was an assistant there, and has leaned on the experiences of his late father to help him and the team get through a disappointing day.
“I’ve talked to Coach Parcells a couple times today. I’ve talked to – in spirit I’ve talked to my dad and you know he always found a way to do it and so we’re going to figure out a way,” Zimmer said. “We’re not going to stick our heads in the sand. We’re going to figure out a way. Everybody can count us out if they want, but I think that would be the wrong thing to do.”