MANKATO, Minn. -- Nearly 11 months to the day since he sustained a major knee injury in the Minnesota Vikings' final preseason practice, Teddy Bridgewater still doesn't know when he'll be cleared to practice or when he'll be ready to return to a NFL game. But Bridgewater said he knows it will happen eventually.
In his first news conference since tearing multiple ligaments and dislocating his left knee last Aug. 30, Bridgewater struck a hopeful tone, saying his doctors haven't called the injury career-ending and crediting his mother Rose Murphy's battle with breast cancer for giving him the strength to take on an arduous rehabilitation process.
"That's the good thing about all this -- I get to continue to live out my dream," he said. "We don't know when it's going to happen, but for me, I know that it's going to happen."
"We don't know when it's going to happen, but for me, I know that it's going to happen."Teddy Bridgewater
The Vikings put Bridgewater on the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, and a return date remains unclear for the quarterback. Coach Mike Zimmer admitted, however, that the initial prognosis for Bridgewater's knee was bleak and said Bridgewater has "done a remarkable job" getting back to the point where he is now.
The 24-year-old was able to drop back and throw in individual drills during the Vikings' June minicamp. He also posted an Instagram picture earlier this month showing him working out without a brace on his left knee.
"I never said what the prognosis was when he got hurt, but it was not good," Zimmer said. "You never really know, but we kind of knew it was going to be a long process. And for where he's at right now is really remarkable. It's a testament to, not only him, but his mom, the way he was brought up, the things he's doing. I think he's in a good place right now, and I think he kind of sees the end game now."
Bridgewater said there was no contact with his knee when the injury happened early in the Vikings' practice on Aug. 30, but he knew immediately that "something didn't feel right." The Vikings' athletic training staff quickly fitted Bridgewater with an air cast, and he was rushed by ambulance to Hennepin County Medical Center, since his knee dislocation put him at risk of losing his lower leg.
"I was in the back of the [ambulance,] and [head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman] was back there with me," Bridgewater said. "We had a conversation, and I'm pretty sure both of us were pretty nervous about that conversation. I'm glad that everyone reacted in a timely manner, and we were able to save my leg, if that's what you want to call it."
The Vikings declined Bridgewater's fifth-year option in May, though his 2017 contract could toll if he spends the entire season on the PUP list. Bridgewater said he understood the team's logic in making the decision.
"I just want to continue to play football," Bridgewater said. "It was taken away from me 11 months ago, so to even be having this conversation about continuing to play football, that just continues to motivate me right there."