Tuesday, we detailed the Minnesota Vikings' official explanation for why receiver Sidney Rice had hip surgery eight months after the original injury, a timetable that will cost him half of the 2010 season. Wednesday, Rice posted an extensive explanation of his own on his personal blog, one that offers one important detail: Doctors documented a significant worsening during the time he attempted to rehabilitate this summer.
Here is the key passage:
Last week I was a little sore after the cutting drills, but the pain was something I thought I could tolerate.
Like a week and a half ago I went back to see the doctor for another MRI and he said it showed significant changes. It was something he thought would be a serious problem if I didn't get it taken care of right then, a problem that could shorten my career. I was feeling better, I had my full range of motion back and felt like I was ready to go, but the doctor compared the last two MRIs and said I should get it taken care of right now.
I talked to a couple of my teammates about it and our trainers and felt like it was the right move to make because I would still have an opportunity to finish the season strong and help the Vikings make a push for the Super Bowl.
Once [Dr. Marc J. Phillipon] got in there and checked everything out, he said having the surgery was the best move I could have made, so I don't regret it now. He said it could have been much worse if I would have tried to play on it during the season. He said it could have been my last year of playing football, so I know I made the right decision.
The key phrase, to me, was "significant changes." Based on this account, surgery was unavoidable rather than a choice made to alleviate pain. In speaking about the issue Tuesday, Vikings coach Brad Childress said: "In the end, it's up to him whether he wanted to have that procedure or whether he could press through. [Reporters] saw him run out here the other day and move around [during rehabilitation]. Obviously he felt it was more of a nag to where he couldn't slough it up. He wanted to remedy it by having a procedure."
It's clear there are two sides to this story, but ultimately the result is the same: Rice will be sidelined for at least eight weeks.
Rice, meanwhile, made a passing reference to the role of his contract status in this episode, writing: "If the Vikings decide to give me an extension, that's great. If not, life goes on. I'll continue to work hard and do everything I can to be successful in what I've been doing my whole life, and that's playing football."
I'll be moving on to the rest of the division shortly. Trust me.