Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who has not played or practiced since suffering a dislocated left knee and torn ACL almost 14 months ago, was cleared to return to practice, coach Mike Zimmer confirmed Monday.
Dr. Dan Cooper, an orthopedic specialist who performed the major surgery on the dislocation on Sept. 9, 2016, examined Bridgewater in Dallas on Monday morning and cleared him to begin practice on Wednesday.
“It’s great,” Zimmer told reporters Monday. “He’s worked extremely hard. Obviously not only him but the training staff, the doctors, (head strength and conditioning coach) Mark Uyeyama, all those guys have done a great job with him to try to rehab him and get him ready to practice. It’s a great deal for Teddy and we’ll take it one day at a time just like we did for the last 14 months.”
Bridgewater hinted at the positive outcome with a morning tweet that said, “Thank you.”
Bridgewater has been sidelined since being injured on Aug. 30, 2016, a week before the season. When he begins practicing, the Vikings will have 21 days to decide whether to add him to the active roster or keep him on the physically unable to perform list all year.
Bridgewater has been present in team meetings throughout his rehab and receives the game plan every week.
“He’ll be ready,” Zimmer said. “Teddy’s smart.”
The 24-year-old Bridgewater, the Vikings’ 2014 first-round pick, is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2015, when he passed for 3,231 yards and 14 touchdowns against nine interceptions.
The Vikings ruled out starting quarterback Sam Bradford for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers due to a nagging left knee ailment, causing him to miss four of the past five games. Case Keenum has been starting in Bradford’s absence.
Keenum said after the game he is not worried about how Bradford’s status or the return of Bridgewater could affect his future.
“I don’t make anything of it,” Keenum told reporters.
“I’m playing quarterback, and I love to play quarterback. I love this team, I love this offense, and I love the atmosphere. I love the stadium. It’s a great spot. Like I said, there’s a lot of externals in this business, and it’s your job to talk through every possibility in everything that goes on, but that’s not my job, so I don’t have to answer that question. I can go out and play quarterback and have fun.”
Keenum, making his fourth start of the season, was 24-of-38 passing for 239 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Packers.
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