Running back Adrian Peterson, the Vikings' first-round draft pick on April 28, will not have surgery to repair a fractured clavicle (collarbone).
How important was this news to the Minnesota Vikings? Head coach Brad Childress, trainer Eric Sugarman, team doctor Joel Boyd and vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman were all in attendance to announce the news in the "war room," where the Vikings made the decision to draft Peterson with the seventh overall pick just 18 days ago.
Surgery to attach a plate to his injured collarbone had been rumored since shortly before the draft and was an admitted possibility, but the Vikings said much of the confusion surrounding the injury stemmed from teams not initially knowing that Peterson had reinjured the collarbone when he played in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2007. Instead, teams were initially concerned that a CT scan performed at the NFL Scouting Combine didn't show sufficient healing for an injury that first occurred on Oct. 14, 2006 in a game against Iowa State. Since he finished playing in the bowl game, NFL teams at the combine weren't aware that he reinjured it.
The Vikings said Peterson informed teams that he injured the collarbone again early in the Fiesta Bowl when he was called back to Indianapolis for a recheck with another CT scan on March 30. Peterson felt some pain on the tackle, but "he told me that's the way he thought it should feel," Sugarman said Wednesday.
Almost a month after the bowl game, on Jan. 30, Peterson had a CT scan that showed he had a non-healed fracture. The concern at the combine from his Feb. 22 CT scan was that callous buildup wasn't consistent with an injury that supposed to be more than four months old. His third examine in as many months on March 30, when he told NFL teams he reinjured it, did show sufficient healing for what was now revealed to be a three-month-old injury.
The Vikings got further assurances on Tuesday when another CT scan showed that the healing "was well on its way," according to Sugarman, a report that prompted the Vikings to feel comfortable enough with the situation to announce that Peterson will not be having surgery.
Surgery would have been an option if the bones in the mid-shaft of the clavicle weren't coming together properly, either coming up short or overlapping, or if there was a "non-union" of them, Boyd said. If he would have had surgery, it would have been a three- to six-month healing process and infection and nerve damage would have been a risk. Additionally, the plate would have had to remain attached indefinitely.
"He's going to be fine for contact by training camp," Sugarman said.
Peterson will wear a protective device, but Childress said people won't even notice it, and the running back is not expected to be limited in the Vikings' non-contact offseason workouts before training camp.
With all the medical reviews that Peterson had, Spielman said "we felt very comfortable it would be a non-issue coming in" to draft weekend. Spielman said Peterson was too good of a player to pass up with the seventh pick even if he would have required surgery to attach a plate.
"Once it's fixed, it's fixed," Sugarman said of Peterson's progress going forward and the propensity to reinjure it. The trainer said he can't get the collarbone to hurt Peterson and that he's been lifting and doing all of the other offseason workouts.
"I feel good," Peterson said. "It really hasn't given me any problems."
He said dealing with taking his first hit in training camp or the preseason won't affect him mentally.
"I've dealt with a lot of feelings mentally," said Peterson, who has endured the incarceration of his father during the son's formative years, and in the past three months the death of his grandfather and the shooting death of his half-brother.
No Surgery Required for Peterson
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