As you may have seen earlier, the Minnesota Vikings held their standard post-game press conference this afternoon at Winter Park, and the topic du jour was, obviously, the status of running back Adrian Peterson, who tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee in Minnesota's 33-26 victory over the Washington Redskins on Saturday afternoon.
The first person to the podium was Certified Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman (™ Paul Allen), and he said that the surgery on Peterson's knee would take place in seven to ten days, and that they expected that he would be ready in eight to nine months. Eight months would put the calendar at late August/early September, which would be right around the time of the 2012 season opener.
Now, for a lot of people, that would probably be insane. But, as Ted pointed out in some of the comments earlier, if there's one player that's capable of it, it's Adrian Peterson. And if there's one training staff that can make it happen, it's the Minnesota Vikings training staff.
Exhibit A - Cedric Griffin. Griffin tore the ACL in his knee on the overtime kickoff of the NFC Championship Game on 24 January 2010. He was back on the field for the Vikings in Week Three of the 2010 regular season on 26 September 2010. That's as close to eight months as you can get, really. And keep in mind, Griffin was pretty good after he came back. . .you know, until he tore the other ACL a couple of weeks later. That's the one that's really screwed him over, from everything I can see.
Exhibit B - E.J. Henderson. On 6 December 2009, Henderson suffered one of the nastiest injuries that you'll ever see when he broke his femur against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football. A broken femur is generally an injury that people suffer when they're in serious car wrecks, not playing football. It was wondered whether Henderson would play again at all, never mind be effective in any way.
The Vikings' medical and training staff have presented Henderson's groundbreaking case, and the rehab program, both locally and nationally. It has been written up in medical journals and is being studied for future reference, providing a road map for how to deal with such an injury.
And they've given it a nickname -- the Henderson Protocol.
"That's our joke, but I think that's what it is," Sugarman said. "I challenge anyone to top it. I think the medical staff in general, we're pretty proud of this. It's a remarkable comeback."
Yep, Eric Sugarman and company had E.J. Henderson back on the field for the second week of the pre-season. That game against the San Francisco 49ers took place on 22 August 2010. These people have a rehabilitation program named for their work, for crying out loud.
So, if Eric Sugarman says that he can have Adrian Peterson ready to go by Week One of the 2012 NFL season. . .well, by God, I'm inclined to believe him. I sure as hell won't bet against it, that's for sure.