Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a dislocated knee and a torn ACL during Tuesday's practice. It was a non-contact injury, and according to the team, Bridgewater is facing a "significant" recovery.
Bridgewater's injury seemed odd because there was no contact, but according to former NFL athletic trainer Mike Ryan, who now serves as NBC Sports Medicine Analyst, it is not uncommon.
I can hear Bridgewater fans now: "How can non-contact injuries like this happen?!" I've knelt over 100+ #NFL players asking very same Q.— Mike Ryan (@SNFMikeRyan) August 30, 2016
"Mechanically speaking, the knee joint is formed by the long thigh bone (femur) resting on top of the main shin bone (tibia)," Ryan told PFT. "Because the knee joint is structurally unstable and very dependent on ligaments for stability, the rupturing of a main ligament(s) leaves the knee joint vulnerable to a dislocation. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament's two main functions are to stabilize the shin bone directly under the thigh bone and, secondly, to minimize internal rotation of that shin bone.
"Therefore, when the ACL is torn, the knee 'buckles' inward and quickly becomes grossly unstable. As in the case of Teddy's injury, the stress of a collapsing body over a now-unstable knee joint is enough to dislocate the knee joint."
Teddy Bridgewater's torn ACL was non-contact injury. Most recent NFL medical study said 26% of ACL tears are non-contact related. Top cause.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) August 31, 2016
It's a huge loss for a Vikings team that was hoping to improve on last year's 11-5 record that included a wild-card appearance. For now, this is Shaun Hill's team.
"I have confidence in Shaun," coach Mike Zimmer said Tuesday. "I think he's played great this preseason. He's been in two-minute drills. He's done a phenomenal job. The thing we have to remember is this is about the team, this isn't a one-man deal. ... We have a good team. We have a good defense team. Our offensive line is much better. We have good receivers, maybe the best running back in the NFL. So this is about a team and us trying to figure out how to win football games."
Hill, 36, hasn't started an NFL game since 2014, but he's the Vikings' best option, at least with the regular-season less than two weeks away. Plus, there's no time for Zimmer to feel sorry for himself, which is something Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells reminded him of shortly after Bridgewater went down.
"I told him, 'The first thing you need to know is this: Everyone in the organization, and that includes some of the players and the coaches, are going to think they have an excuse now,'" Parcells told TheMMQB.com's Peter King. "Once the shock is over, probably 48 hours from now, they're all gonna come to you and look at you and say, 'What are you gonna do?' Because you're charged with winning games now, no matter what you have on your team. You need to figure out what works - what recipe works. And tomorrow morning, once the shock wears off, nobody's gonna give a s---. It's his problem. He's gotta figure out how to win now."