Minnesota Vikings tight end MyCole Pruitt sprained his medial collateral ligament (MCL) during the team’s third preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, an injury that caused him a lot of frustration initially but was just happy it wasn’t worse.
He didn’t know what exactly happened when he first got injured. He just had to go along with what the doctors and training staff were telling him and hope for the best. They had him undergo an MRI and, to his delight, it ended up being nothing too serious.
Still, he has had to miss the team’s final preseason game and the first three weeks of the regular season, although he did return to practice on a limited basis prior to their Week 3 win over the Carolina Panthers. It has been hard for him to sit out that long, but he knows he needs to stay as engaged as possible so he doesn’t fall behind.
“You just got to realize that your opportunity is going to come eventually,” he said. “So if you sit there, don’t pay attention and fall behind, it’s going to be hard for you to get back up onto the horse and get back on the field. That was my motivation to stay involved.”
Pruitt is now in his second NFL season after the Vikings selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. He received ample playing time as the team’s third tight end last season, but there is still a lot for him to learn, which is one of the reasons this injury was so frustrating for him.
He hasn’t been able to be out on the field much to start the season, so he has been just sitting on the sidelines trying to envision himself on the field during different plays.
“Just trying to take mental reps, watch the play and think about what you would have done in that situation,” Pruitt explained. “I watch Kyle (Rudolph) and (Rhett) Ellison and how they handle certain situations, and learn from them.”
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Pruitt’s rehab has been going well so far and returning to practice last week was a huge weight off his shoulders, even if it was only on a limited basis. He said he will be back at practice this week, as the Vikings prepare for their Monday night outing against the New York Giants.
The hope is that he feels good enough, and looks good enough, to play in the game, but he knows that decision belongs to the coaching and training staff.