Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Adrian Peterson out with torn knee ligament

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will miss Sunday's game against Oakland with a torn ligament in his right knee.

Coach Brad Childress said Monday that Peterson tore his lateral collateral ligament in the Vikings' 34-0 loss to Green Bay. Peterson will not require surgery, Childress said.

"The good news is that the knee is otherwise stable and the injury is isolated to that ligament," Childress said. "I'm told that's a good healing ligament."

Childress said this is not a season-ending injury, but he did not talk about when Peterson might be back.

"I'm real hesitant to put a timeline on that thing," Childress said.

Vikings trainer Eric Sugarman said there is "absolutely no question about it" that Peterson will play again this season, according to Scout.com.

Peterson was hurt just a week after he set an NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards in a victory over San Diego.

Team doctors told Childress that with ligament tears graded on a three-point scale, with three being the worst, Peterson's tear is "two-plus." It's not as serious as an anterior cruciate ligament tear, which would have required surgery and ended Peterson's brilliant rookie season.

"This is not one of those," Childress said.

Peterson was injured in the third quarter Sunday. Packers cornerback Al Harris hit him in the knee just as Peterson was about to make a cut downfield, and the star rookie writhed in pain for several minutes in a scary scene.

"That pain was horrible," Peterson said Monday, according to Scout.com. "I don't know if you've ever experienced a pain where you don't want nobody to touch you — you just want to be still for a few minutes to calm down — that was the kind of pain it was. Not knowing what to expect, I was just praying to God, please don't let it be anything serious."

Sugarman said that the Vikings' clinical diagnosis on the field and on the sidelines quickly alleviated concerns that he might have torn his anterior cruciate ligament, a season-ending injury that would have required surgery.

"He didn't really ever say he felt a pop," Sugarman said, according to Scout.com. "He felt a burning sensation in his knee. ... He doesn't have an unstable knee. When he walks around, it doesn't feel like it's giving out."

After conducting an interview on Monday, Peterson walked away without a noticeable limp, and Sugarman said there was no swelling or effusion (blood in the knee joint), and that the running back has full range of motion in his knee. It also helps that the outside of the knee, where the injured lateral collateral ligament resides, is further supported by three other structures that help stabilize that area of the knee, including the hamstring.

"When you don't know what the injury is and you know it's a knee, especially being a running back, that's something that will definitely make you a little worried," Peterson said, according to Scout.com.

It could have been much worse, according to Sugarman, if Harris made contact closer to the front of Peterson's knee.

"He's lucky," Sugarman said, according to Scout.com. "If (Harris) is 30 degrees in front with (Peterson's) foot fixed, we're talking about a very significant injury today. So he's very lucky that this is all he has and he's going to be just fine."

Losing the only offensive star it has will be a devastating blow to a unit that has struggled in every game Peterson has not topped 200 yards rushing this season. It's been a one-man show in Minnesota, with Peterson accounting for 1,081 of the team's 1,551 yards rushing and eight of the team's 10 touchdowns rushing.

The No. 7 overall draft pick out of Oklahoma broke the single-game rushing record two weeks ago against San Diego, racking up 296 yards to put him on pace to smash Eric Dickerson's record for yards rushing by a rookie in a single season.

Now the Vikings will turn to veteran Chester Taylor, who topped 1,200 yards rushing last season and has been solid in spot duty behind Peterson this year. Taylor is averaging 5 yards per carry in a backup role.

"He obviously has a track record," Childress said. "We just expect somebody to pick up there."

Peterson took over as the starter after rushing for 224 yards in a victory over Chicago on Oct. 14. The Vikings scored 34 points that week, and the only other time they've topped 30 points in a game this season was during Peterson's historic performance in their 35-17 victory over the Chargers two weeks ago.

An unbalanced attack on offense is mostly to blame. The Vikings rank No. 1 in the NFL in rush offense, but are 31st in passing offense and have flip-flopped quarterbacks all season.

Brooks Bollinger became the third quarterback to start this season in Sunday's loss to Green Bay, and Childress said he will go with Tarvaris Jackson against the Raiders.

With the Packers keyed almost solely on stopping Peterson, the dazzling runner was limited to 45 yards on 11 carries before he was hurt. The Vikings had just 17 plays in the first half thanks to Bollinger's struggles in the passing game, and had no chance after falling behind 20-0 early in the second half.

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