MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Teddy Bridgewater acknowledged Thursday that had trainers and doctors not acted quickly when he collapsed during practice last fall, he might have lost his leg.
It’s an injury that until Thursday, Bridgewater had never discussed publicly. He broke his silence at training camp and said he’s determined to resume his NFL career. But he’s still not sure when he’ll be able to.
“Right now I’m taking it one day at a time. I can’t look too far forward and I have to live in the now,” Bridgewater said.
He was placed on the physically unable to perform list after reporting to Mankato on Wednesday.
Bridgewater stood on the practice field, but didn’t take any repetitions, as the Vikings had their first full team walk-through Thursday morning.
“It’s great to be back out here. It’s going to be an eventful year for me,” Bridgewater said.
That’s certainly a lot easier than re-living what happened that day last August. It’s what Bridgewater called Thursday a “freak accident,” which was bad enough to make him pretty nervous he might actually lose his leg. Bridgewater suffered a non-contact injury while he was dropping back to pass during a team drill. He went down and was seen grabbing his left knee. MRI reports later showed he dislocated his knee and completely tore his ACL.
“Just remember being out there laying on the ground and the biggest thing I remember was the guys supporting me,” Bridgewater said. “As I was out there on the ground, different guys came up, holding my hand and praying for me.”
In the time he’s spent rehabbing it since, he’s grown increasingly confident he will play again.
“It’s been all progress. Some slow progress, but slow progress is better than no progress,” Bridgewater said. “That’s the good thing about all this. I get to continue to live out my dream. I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but for me, I know it’s going to happen.
But there is no timetable for his return, or even if he could play at all this season.
Bridgewater said doctors haven’t completely ruled out him returning to football. But when asked if doctors told him he’ll ever get his full mobility back in the knee, he said, “That’s something I’d rather not talk about.”
Bridgewater’s injury forced Rick Spielman to trade the team’s 2017 first-round draft pick to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford, who was the NFL’s most accurate passer last season.
The quarterback situation is one of the top story lines of training camp, with both Bradford and Bridgewater in the final year of their contracts. The Vikings declined Bridgewater’s fifth-year option next year due to the uncertainty of his NFL future after the injury. Bradford also wants to secure his long-term future, but the Vikings are forced to wait on Bridgewater’s health before they make any decisions.
Bridgewater said he won’t allow it to be career-ending and if anything it will motivate him to push harder and get back on the field.
While it is still uncertain if he will play this year, just two weeks ago Bridgewater posted pictures of himself working out without his knee brace on Instagram.