Let's Get Ready to Rehab

Center Matt Birk said following successful surgery Tuesday that he plans to be in the starting lineup when the regular season opener arrives.

Matt Birk has always been a quick healer. It was that ability to beat the standard projections and buck the odds that got him back on the field quicker than anticipated last summer after suffering a sports hernia injury. But, in hindsight, many now believe he came back too soon -- making a bad situation worse and requiring two additional hernia surgeries.

But, Birk remains undaunted. He said Wednesday that his surgery came off without any complications and that he "fully expects" to be in the starting lineup when the season begins vs. the Buccaneers at the Metrodome Sept. 11.

Using a timetable supplied by Vikings medical staff, Birk will miss to two to three months. Even at the long end of that spectrum, he would return to practice on or about Sept. 1 -- which would give him a week to 10 days of live hitting and practice to get back on the field.

VU has been told that a standard rehab time for such injuries -- repair of the labrum in Birk's right hip -- typically takes three to four months for an offensive lineman. Under that scenario, he could be on the shelf into the regular season.

But, at this point, we have to take Birk at his word. Nobody knows his body better than he does so until we hear otherwise, expect to hear Birk's name when the opening-day starters are announced Sept. 11 at the Metrodome.

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