One day after the team released a slow-motion video of Bridgewater dropping back and throwing passes, General Manager Rick Spielman clarified that Bridgewater hasn’t been cleared to practice and missed Wednesday’s practice because of a predetermined doctor’s appointment.
Between the video and Spielman’s comments it was an 18-hour span that created excitement among the fan base that could be brought back to the reality that there is still no timeline for Bridgewater to be fully recovered from what Spielman termed a devastating knee injury last Aug. 30, when the quarterback dislocated his left knee and tore multiple ligaments, including the anterior cruciate ligament.
“He is not cleared for practice, so I want to make that perfectly clear,” Spielman said on Wednesday. “But he’s working extremely hard in his rehab, and we’ll continue to monitor his progress as he goes.
“I’m not going to get into dates every day, whether he’s ahead or behind schedule. I know he’s doing everything he can to get on the field as quickly as he can, but we will follow the protocol just to make sure that he’s able to get out on the field.”
But there is still an uncertainty of when – even if – that might happen. Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer have said since the injury that there is no timeline for Bridgewater to return to practice and that remains the case.
“Teddy’s just such a great kid, and I know how everybody feels about Teddy – including our head coach, our ownership, this entire organization – just hoping that eventually he’ll be able to come back on the field, but that’s still the unknown,” Spielman said. “But I know that everybody from [athletic trainer] Eric Sugarman to the doctors and everything are doing everything we can to work with Teddy, and Teddy’s working. You almost have to hold Teddy back from doing too much because he’s so diligent in what he’s trying to get accomplished.”
Spielman admitted that what Bridgewater is able to do is “very limited” but called it “progress.”
The video released by the team showed Bridgewater dropping back and throwing, but it was only a few passes and it was set to slow motion. Spielman declined to get into details of whether Bridgewater is even able to drop back to full speed, but he said the team wanted to release the video since he wouldn’t be at Wednesday’s practice, which was open to the media when Tuesday’s practice wasn’t.
“I knew it was going to be a question of, ‘Why is Teddy not at practice?’” Spielman said. “We wanted to at least put something out there to show that this is part of his rehab and part of his rehab program, and it gave you guys an opportunity, because you weren’t going to be able to see it today, to see what he was able to do yesterday.”
Spielman called Bridgewater’s progress “encouraging,” but teammates said what the public saw from Bridgewater in the video was what they’ve been seeing for some time now, and Jarius Wright said the passes Bridgewater threw on Tuesday were much further than 5 yards but declined to get into specifics.
For now, when it comes to Bridgewater, the Vikings are focusing on his rehab, not his return.
“I think it’s as it goes, day to day. Can he do a little bit more? I don’t know where that’s going. We’ll just take it a day at a time,” Spielman said.
But he said Bridgewater is “very focused, very determined” to get back at some point. When and if that happens is still to be determined.