EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Desmond Bishop didn’t need any extra motivation as he tries to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and resume his NFL career, but he couldn’t help himself when he looks across the Minnesota Vikings’ locker room at the shining example of returning from reconstructive knee surgery.
Adrian Peterson has set the bar for athletes everywhere. Most might be unfairly judged because of Peterson’s amazing recovery in which he returned just over nine months after surgery to post the second-highest, single-season rushing yardage in NFL history and win the MVP award.
Bishop says he’s in competition with Peterson, as far as his recovery and he’s not happy he’s already behind schedule.
“The first person who I talked to was Adrian about it,” Bishop said Friday, speaking for the first time since tearing his ACL in last Sunday’s game. “Looking at his whole timeline, so that’s what I’m kind of in competition with right now. I believe he got his surgery after the injury six or seven days after. I think mine is going to be eight, so I’m a little upset about that. Going forward, I’m just going to try to keep at the same pace he had. That’s where I’m kind of channeling all my focus is to outdo him.”
Bishop is set to have surgery on Tuesday and will be having the operation done by Dr. James Andrews, the same surgeon who performed Peterson’s surgery. Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III returned to play from his knee surgery in a similar timeframe as Peterson, but hasn’t looked the same. The case has brought questions about whether Griffin returned too quickly.
But Bishop wants to follow the same, accelerated path.
“Oh, yeah. I told you,” Bishop said of following Peterson’s timeline. “I might change to offense and try to play running back.”
Bishop, who said he might even use the same people for rehabilitation that Peterson used in Houston, walked off the field on Sunday at the Metrodome and had the look of inevitability regarding the right knee injury he had suffered. He looked skyward and screamed on his way to the sideline where he would be looked at by doctors, who tested his right knee for stability.
But Bishop said he wasn’t’ sure of the injury when it happened. A magnetic resonance imaging test confirmed he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament, in the same leg as the torn hamstring which kept him out all of last season.
“I didn’t really know,” Bishop said. “I was just frustrated being hurt. That was my biggest frustration initially. I didn’t really know exactly what the injury prognosis was. I was just angry that I was freaking on the ground and couldn’t get up.”
Bishop had injured the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee in the preseason last year, but it was the torn hamstring which kept him out the entire season. He said the injury last year didn’t play a part in the torn ligament this year.
“Tough, tough place obviously,” Bishop said. “I’m really just seriously just trying to channel all my focus on recovering, healing up and I’ll get surgery in a couple days. Just ready to tackle this whole process. I’ve been here before. I know what it takes to come back, physically, mentally, psychologically. I’m prepared.”
Bishop had earned his first start with the Vikings, after signing with the team before training camp and said earning the start was a “big stepping stone” and the injury happened at the “worst time.”
Asked whether he was just hitting his comfort level with the defense he responded, “No. I think I hit a little bit ago. But to finally get the nod to start was a big stepping stone to getting back to where I really wanted to be. It’s unfortunate the injury happened at the worst time, but, like I said, it’s out of my control.”
“I felt like I was coming, really getting into my groove,” Bishop said. “I’ve always been in my groove, really, honestly. It’s just kind of the way life is and the way things go sometimes. There’s nothing really you can do. It’s out of my control. The only thing I can do is focus on what I can control and that’s my rehab and coming back better.”
Bishop isn’t sure what his future holds now, losing most of the past two seasons due to injuries. But he does expect to get back on the field again.
“No doubt at all,” Bishop said. “My last injury was worse than this. So this relatively easier.”