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Vikings still wowed by Peterson’s rapid recovery
EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. (AP) - Most days, Adrian Peterson went through rehab drills looking as if he were never injured.
No one could’ve foreseen the rapid recovery Peterson has made since that bionic left knee of his was severely damaged near the end of a lost 2011 season for Minnesota. No one could have predicted these weekly gallops down the field and through the NFL record book.
With two games to go, Peterson needs 294 yards to break Eric Dickerson’s all-time single-season rushing record. He is 188 yards from becoming the seventh player in league history to reach 2,000 yards in one year.
Dec. 24, 2011:
The Vikings were playing at Washington the day before Christmas, a meaningless matchup between teams well out of postseason contention. The end of a routine 3-yard run early in the third quarter by Peterson, the throwback thoroughbred the Vikings have hitched their franchise to in a league now dominated by the forward pass, ended with excruciating pain.
Redskins safety DeJon Gomes dived at his lower left leg to take him down, tearing Peterson’s anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in the process. Peterson, lying face down on the grass, knew immediately “something bad” had happened. By the time head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and team physician Dr. Joel Boyd raced over from the sideline, Peterson was screaming, “Why me? Why me?”
Sugarman and Boyd performed the Lachman test, where the leg is pushed and wiggled to gauge the stability of the ACL.
“It was just gone,” Sugarman said. “So now your worst nightmare is confirmed.”
By the time the game was over, Peterson’s attitude had already turned. His knee in a brace, sitting in the training room, he asked Sugarman, “Hey, what do we do next? Where do we start? How do we get better?”
“His grieving was very short-lived,” Sugarman said.
The rehabilitation of one of the best running backs in NFL history began.
The first three months of the reconstructive knee surgery recovery are always the hardest, and even for Peterson this was no different. The mornings were dark and cold. Most of his teammates were gone. There were occasional text messages Sugarman had to send to encourage Peterson not to let up. The swelling had to subside first, before he could start the process of restoring his range of motion. The pain from both the incision and the bone that had to be broken to allow the ligament to be replaced was intense. But as soon as Dr. James Andrews performed the procedure in Birmingham, Ala., on Dec. 30, Peterson was ready.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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