Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford and the Minnesota Vikings' QB dilemma

From ESPN - October 12, 2017

Several unrelated issues have assembled for what promises to be a wild month in the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback saga. An ominous diagnosis for Sam Bradford's knee and the potential return of Teddy Bridgewater have intersected, leaving open the possibility of a midseason transition that once seemed highly improbable.

Let's examine the issues involved in a friendly format. There's nothing to fear here...

Ominous? I thought the Vikings said Bradford was just dealing with "wear and tear."

They did, and he is.

But there are two important takeaways from that information.

Go on

The first is that "wear and tear" is not a medical diagnosis. It's a description of why the injury happened. The real question to ask in order to understand Bradford's condition is: WHAT happened?

OK, genius: What happened?

The NFL Network reported that he suffered a bone bruise in the left knee in Week 1. That's the same knee in which Bradford has twice torn the ACL.

But I thought the Vikings said Bradford did not have a bone bruise.

That's not actually what they said. Speaking to reporters Monday, athletic trainer Eric Sugarman said: "We are not dealing with a bone bruise from a direct hit."

See, there you go!

Wellas it turns out, there are two types of bone bruises. One can occur if, say, a helmet hits the shin. Another, as former San Diego Chargers team doctor David Chao has pointed out, happens with no contact. Technically, it's referred to as a periarticular bruise, and it occurs when the femur and tibia jam together without muscles absorbing the force.

Is that what Bradford has?

No one can say for sure except those who have seen Bradford's full medical report. But that's what Chao deduced in this analysis posted on the San Diego Union-Tribune website. I spoke with Chao by phone Wednesday, and he said that periarticular bruises are usually week-to-week injuries, not day-to-day.

So how long will Bradford sit out this time?

The Vikings are saying they will examine him daily, and I am sure they will. But it's only fair to note that Bradford needed three weeks off just to attempt a return from the initial injury, and he still looked uncomfortable right away before suffering an aggravation. "These injuries are very difficult to manage and treat," Sugarman said.

Well, at least this is an injury that will heal fully in time for 2018.

Perhaps, but that brings us to our second takeaway. Bradford turns 30 next month and his contract expires after the season. As recently as this summer, given Bridgewater's status, the assumption was that the Vikings hoped to re-sign Bradford. Do not forget: They gave the Philadelphia Eagles a first-round draft choice, which turned out to be the No. 14 overall pick in 2017, to acquire him after Bridgewater's injury in August 2016. The Vikings considered Bradford more than a short-term replacement.

So why would a bone bruise change that plan?

Because it only adds to a long list of knee ailments Bradford has suffered since entering the NFL in 2010. How much money, and commitment, would you invest in a quarterback who not only has multiple ACL injuries on his rsum but also "wear and tear" that might have contributed to a corresponding injury and an extended absence?

Wow. Good thing Bridgewater is almost ready.


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