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Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer says eye surgery should allow him to fly

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told KFAN that he had a different kind of fluid injected into his eye that would allow him to fly to Jacksonville this week as long as no further complications arise with his eye.

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer admitted he had to be “persuaded” to not coach his team last Thursday night, a day after having emergency surgery to repair a detached retina.

Now, Zimmer told KFAN radio in his weekly appearance on Tuesday he feels “fine,” although he clarified that he continues have checkups this week after having a fourth procedure done on his eye Friday morning. His emergency surgery was on Wednesday evening.

Amid speculation that he might not be able to fly to Jacksonville for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars, Zimmer said the type of fluid he had injected in his eye should allow him to attend that game.

“When they did this last surgery, they take some fluid out of your eye and then they inject some other fluid into your eye and if they inject an oxygen bubble or oxygen whatever it is, you cannot fly,” he said. “They put an oil-based substance in my eye as opposed to an oxygen-based substance, apparently. With this, you don’t have that restriction of not flying.”

Zimmer returned to work on Monday and was back coaching the team on Tuesday with tape over his right eye. He has another follow-up with the doctor on Wednesday, but said he hasn’t been giving a long list of things he can’t do.

“I think there’s a lot of speculation out there that says that I’m not doing what the doctors are telling me to do. I don’t believe that’s right,” he told KFAN. “Now, maybe they don’t understand the pressures that I have with my job and I’ll explain that better to them when I talk to them about the things.

“There’s certain things that I’m not supposed to do right now. Looking up is one of them. I’m supposed to look at horizon down. I’m not supposed to be lifting anything heavy, jumping up and down and jarring. You know, there’s several things I’m being told to do that I’m very, very careful with because I understand the importance of this and the importance of having my eyesight. But I’ll get into a lot more of these questions with him when I see him.”

Zimmer was told on Saturday that the eye “looks great,” but he will continue to have it monitored perhaps weekly over the next several months.

“I’m going to do what the doctors tell me to do. I understand the seriousness of the issue and what it is. If they tell me it’s in my best interest to sit in a box during the game or it’s my best interest to not go to the game or there’s a possibility of me losing this eyesight in this eye, then I’m going to listen to them,” he said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, he still planned to go to Jacksonville unless another surgery is required.

“One other thing,” Zimmer added. “I’m probably as hard-headed as anybody, but if people are out there having floaters or flashes of light or things like that, or they feel like their vision is moving or there’s a drape closing on your vision, then they need to get it checked because it is serious business and probably more so than what they think.” 

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