Mike Zimmer can see the light at the end of the tunnel with his right eye. Granted, that light is still a little foggy, but he’s heading toward it now at a good pace.
The Minnesota Vikings head coach admits he’s “not out of the woods totally” after eight surgeries to correct a detached retina in his right eye, but things are progressing nicely, according to his assessment after a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday.
“The retina is perfect. The pressure is great. [The doctor] said he would be absolutely shocked if anything else happened in this eye where it is now,” Zimmer said. “I’m just about out of the woods.”
Right now, his vision is 20/100 with a corrective lens. However, as the gas bubble that was placed in his eye to keep his retina in place while it heals continues to dissolve, his vision should continue to improve.
He estimates the bubble should be gone in seven to 10 days, but until that happens he is still under “no fly” directives. That will complicated his travel to his daughter’s wedding on June 25 in Dallas, meaning he will have to drive there. It may be an inconvenience for the hard-charging coach with just over a month of vacation before training camp, but he appears to be doing everything necessary to ensure he shows up at training camp with a right eye as close to normal as possible.
During the course of his eight surgeries since November, he revealed doctors said there was a chance the same thing could happen to his left eye in the future. That’s still the case, but he refuses to let it affect his schedule during the season.
“Maybe they’re always a little cautious,” he said of doctors. “… He actually said I’m more worried about this eye than your other eye. Now, don’t get all headlines on that,” Zimmer said with a laugh. “What he said was because your eyes are typically shaped the same way, a one in five chance something could happen in your other eye. But, he also said because we’ll get more diligent about the things we’re doing that we’d catch it much sooner.
“But, saying that, if it’s the season, I’m going, baby! It’s time to go.”
Zimmer was forced to miss one game last year, a Thursday night matchup with one of his former teams, the Dallas Cowboys, after having an emergency surgery the night before. He also missed the first two weeks of organized team activities last month to recover from his eighth surgery.
“I don’t think it set anything back,” he said of the progress of the team during his absence in May. “It was difficult for me. I think it was maybe difficult on some of the players at times because when the teacher is not here you have a chance to be a little bit different. When I came back, everything was good.”
But after all the issues he has had with his right eye, Zimmer does find some relief in believing the worst is behind him.
“I’m not out of the woods totally,” he said. “It’s nice that we’re progressing the right way and maybe number nine doesn’t show up. I read that thing when I was driving to Kentucky, something about cats have nine lives – you don’t, so buckle your seatbelt! I’m hoping I don’t get to the ninth life.”