That this has become even a remote possibility is fairly amazing when you consider the devastating left knee injury Bridgewater suffered during Minnesota Vikings training camp in 2016, when he went down without even taking a hit. He had torn his anterior cruciate ligament and suffered a dislocated knee and would miss all but a few snaps over the next two seasons, and to hear his surgeon tell it, Bridgewater perhaps is even lucky that he didn’t face amputation.
Dan Cooper, the Cowboys’ team physician, performed the 4 1/2-hour surgery on Bridgewater on Sept. 8, 2016, and then went in again eight weeks later to relieve stiffness in the knee. Cooper talked with ESPN’s Ian O’Connor about what both he and Bridgewater were facing, and while the entire story is worth your time, Cooper’s direct quotes alone are illustrative enough:
— “It was just a horribly grotesque injury.”
— “It’s mangled. You make the skin incision, and there’s nothing there. It’s almost like a war wound. Everything is blown.”
— “This surgery was an absolute gut test, a test of what you’re made of, and I’ve seen it break people down. I never saw it break Teddy down. … Most people have no idea the volume of the workload this kid had to put in. He had a toothpick of a leg he had to rebuild.”
— “But it’s certainly the worst knee dislocation in sports I’ve ever seen without having a nerve or vessel injury. … It’s a horrific injury. You’ve torn every single thing in your knee and it’s hanging on by one ligament on one side like a hinge.”
Cooper added that only “20-25 percent” of the NFL players he’s treated have come back from such an injury, and the Bridgewater had a little something else that got him through all this.
“His inner resolve,” Cooper told O’Connor, “kept him from being defeated on a daily basis for a year and a half.”
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