Welcome to the Thursday edition of The Cooler, where hopefully you are between meals. Let’s get to it:
*We’re one week away from the two-year anniversary of the awful knee injury that changed the trajectory of Teddy Bridgewater’s career as well as the Vikings’ path.
Without that injury, there is no Sam Bradford trade. There is no Case Keenum, no Minneapolis Miracle and no Kirk Cousins. And Bridgewater, had he stayed healthy, would probably be the Vikings QB on a loaded team with Super Bowl aspirations instead of with the Jets — wondering where (and if) he will get to play this season, as trade rumors swirl.
The two-year mark is a key one, as we learned from a revealing ESPN.com story in which the surgeon who performed Bridgewater’s massive knee procedure talked — with Teddy’s permission — about the process and journey for the first time.
The surgeon, Dan Cooper, did not mince words.
“It was just a horribly grotesque injury,” Cooper said. The good doctor was talking about the quarterback’s left knee, which had exploded without warning nine days earlier while Bridgewater was dropping back to pass, untouched, in a Minnesota Vikings practice. “It’s mangled,” Cooper said. “You make the skin incision, and there’s nothing there. It’s almost like a war wound. Everything is blown.”
Cooper, the Cowboys team physician, was recommended by Bill Parcells. He performed two surgeries — the first major one lasting more than four hours while he repaired the mangled knee. It was hanging together by one ligament, the doctor said. Cooper fixed Bridgewater’s ACL and then five more ligaments. He then transplanted one of Bridgewater’s hamstring tendons to his knee.
“It’s certainly the worst knee dislocation in sports I’ve ever seen without having a nerve or vessel injury,” Cooper said. “It’s an injury that about 20-25 percent of NFL players are able to come back from. … It’s a horrific injury. You’ve torn every single thing in your knee.”
But here’s Bridgewater, almost two years later, with two strong preseason showings under his belt and the chance to play for the Jets or get traded to a QB-needy team. I don’t know anyone rooting against him.
“This surgery was an absolute gut test, a test of what you’re made of, and I’ve seen it break people down,” Cooper said. “I never saw it break Teddy down. … Most people have no idea the volume of the workload this kid had to put in. He had a toothpick of a leg he had to rebuild.”
*Urban Meyer was suspended three games by Ohio State for his handling of former assistant Zach Smith, a half-measure that was a compromise at its worst. A good middle ground satisfies both sides. A bad one makes everyone angrier. This appears to be the latter. SI’s Andy Staples has a good take on it.
*Here’s two things I learned in one tweet: