Jerry Rice: Adrian Peterson is rushing back too fast, like I did

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In Week One of the 1997 NFL season, Jerry Rice tore his ACL. In Week 16 of the same season, he stunned everyone by returning to the field, less than four months later. But Rice, who suffered a cracked kneecap while catching a touchdown pass in that Week 16 return, now says he regrets rushing back from his torn ACL. And he fears that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is doing the same.

Rice said today on NFL Live that he believes that second knee injury of 1997 was related to the first one, and that he should have been more cautious about his return from a major knee injury.

“I cracked my patella,” Rice said. “I feel that I rushed myself back to the football field. And I think that with Adrian Peterson, he’s doing the same thing. Because we are accustomed to being out there with the guys, sweating with the guys, fighting on the football field. And if you’re not able to do that you just don’t feel connected. And that’s the reason why I rushed back. I hope he doesn’t do the same thing.”

Rice was so desperate to get back to work after tearing his ACL that after surgery, he disobeyed doctors’ orders and sawed the cast off his own leg so that he could start working out again. Rice now believes that was foolish.

“I thought I was invincible,” Rice said. “I felt I did all the work and it was time for me to get back on that football field. But if I had to do it all over again, I would take more time to heal up, then come back.”

Peterson hasn’t rushed back the way Rice did: Peterson, who tore his ACL on December 24, has already rehabbed his knee for more than twice as long as Rice did. But Rice’s cautionary tale is still valuable for the Vikings, who shouldn’t let Peterson go back to full contact until the doctors are certain he’s ready, no matter how badly Peterson himself wants to return to the field.

50 responses to “Jerry Rice: Adrian Peterson is rushing back too fast, like I did

  1. Jerry sounds as confused as when he’s at the ESPN desk. There is no logical medical reasoning for these injuries being related (Patella Fx & ACL tear) nor do you get placed in a cast after ACL reconstruction.

  2. i may be wrong but i thought one of the older ways to repair the acl was involving splitting the knee cap in 2,and thats what he reinjured when he came back?one of those surgeries for acl or pcl or mcl involved splitting the kneecap i thought.

  3. @scrapdo the old ACL procedure was to use a piece of the kneecap as a new anchor for the ACL. That weakened the kneecap.

    I have no idea if that it still the procedure today.

  4. psychosteeler–Rod Woodson returned almost five months after his torn ACL. Jerry Rice returned only three and a half months after his torn ACL.

  5. I am a vikings homer all the way. I am 100% sure the vikings won’t let AP out there if he can’t compete and protect himself. I think they’ve been and will be cautious about this. If he plays week one, he gets 5-8 carries, maybe 10. The vikings will dot their I’s and cross their T’s with AP!

  6. Remember this quote from JA ‘That dude, I was just watching him run at minicamp, and that dude has got muscles on top of muscles, and he eats like two quarts of Cold Stone a day,” Allen said. “I have one bite of pizza and I put 13 pounds on. It’s just ridiculous. ‘

    If there is any pro athlete that can recover this fast, Peterson will.

  7. Adrian Peterson did not crack his kneecap and as the report mentioned and rehabbed twice as much. Medical advancements and the fact that Adrian Peterson is a workout and genetic freak should put to rest all doubts of surgically repaired knee. Lastly, AP is much, much stronger than Jerry Rice

  8. Wes Welker tore his ACL in the playoffs and started week one and had a hundred catch season, I believe. Playing WR is different than playing RB, I know this, but we’ll see and the vikes will take things slow with him. On top of that, there is no reason to rush him back if Toby Gerhart picks up where he left off last year. He looks good and he looked pretty good in the preseason game @49ers.

  9. It just seems that this might be early and that it would be better to err on the side of caution. Too much at risk, and it’s certainly not the Vikings season you’re messing with. It’s not a playoff year, but you might be messing with whether you can have 5 more huge years, or 5 more games, ever.
    I want to see the guy on the field as much as anybody, but to see something bad happen would set the franchise back a long ways.
    28 has got too much steam to be making unemotional medical assessments.
    Sit him until at least week 2 or 4.
    Or the Dr. says to unleash the Krakken.

  10. @Vikings 28

    Welker caught 86 passes for 848 yrds the year after tearing his ACL.

    Every other year in NE he caught at least 110 and had over 11oo yards.

    He wasn’t the same WR until year 2 after the injury and neither will Peterson be in 2012.

  11. AP is a beast, but he should not (ahem) rush (thankyou!) back. ease into it young man! Sage wisdom indeed from the Greatest to ever step onto the football field.

  12. Wow, didn’t know Jerry Rice had a Medical Degree. I think he should leave his medical speculations to the professionals. Medical Doctors and Trainers decide when Adrian gets on the field again, not Adrian, Coach Frazier, or Jerry Rice.

  13. Chad Clifton and Jerry Rice – two horrific injuries, one common denominator: Warren Sapp playing ugly, dirty football. Bankruptcy couldn’t befall a more deserving player.

  14. The medical staff won’t let him play if he isn’t ready. He will probably be there week 1 but with limited carries until the 4th or 5th week but after that he will be taking on a bigger role. Wouldn’t be surprised at all if he still rushed for 1,200 yards or more.

  15. Actually scrapdo, those injuries can be related. When you sustain an injury to one of your stabilizer joints as I’m the ACL or PCL your other joints try and compensate. Furthermore the surrounding muscle are weaker and need proper time to regain preinjury strength. So Jerry is on point with his assessment. Just saying …….

  16. AP has an agent. Agent wants to get paid. If AP gets another major injury one more time, agent and AP don’t get paid. No new contract, no Girl Scout cookies, no New Madden video games, no hoes, no more……….and in the beginning, God created AP and Nickey doing the freak………………………

  17. With the investment the team has in him, the team has millions of reasons to be cautious. Then again, we could always sign Cedric Benson in mid-season once the Pack releases him after his third fumble.

  18. ….Peterson will never be the same again. 85% maybe…but not the same. It’s a given.

  19. @Scrapdo

    You said: “Jerry sounds as confused as when he’s at the ESPN desk. There is no logical medical reasoning for these injuries being related (Patella Fx & ACL tear).”

    The thing is that injuries can cause other injuries that have no physical relation to each because you play different on an injury. For example, when I was in high school I hurt my right ankle, but my friends wanted to play some football in the backyard so I did. But because I hurt my right ankle at one point I tried to pivot with all my weight on my left ankle and I hurt that too. That’s a very minor example of course but the point is injuries can lead to more injuries in many different ways.

  20. The bottom line is that no Doctor is going to be able to give a definitive answer as to whether or not his knee is going to hold up. Doctors are not fortune tellers. All Adrian can do is listen to his body, and do what he feels is best.

  21. ctattles says:Aug 13, 2012 5:11 PM

    Medical Advancements.

    agentpyro says:Aug 13, 2012 6:11 PM

    Jerry Rice in 1997 – 35 years old
    Adrian Peterson in 2012 – 27 years old


  22. I had my ACL replaced 3 months ago and the docs haven’t even let me run yet – so yeah 4 months is pushing it. I’m sure AP could be there though since he will be 9 months out. Best of luck to him.

  23. Why doesn’t he just take his time getting back?? He’s risking his career rushing back to a team that is years away from the playoffs…

  24. Isn’t that how he got hurt to begin with? If I remember right he was banged up before that Raiders game.

  25. He is an incredible back and one of the best to play the position. I’d hate to see him rush it and end his career playing too early. Let Toby take some slugs for a few games and come back like the monster you are AD!

  26. OK, not that watching wild speculation isn’t fun, but it’s time for the orthopod to contribute.

    Jerry had a bone-tendon-bone (BTB) autograft. The surgeon used a segment of his patella, the patellar tendon and a segment from the tibia (as a single contiguous piece) to reconstruct the ACL. When he returned too soon, Jerry basically put his physical fitness ahead of science. I don’t care how strong you are, the biology of bone healing can only go so fast. The patella did not fully reconstitute, and he fractured through the stress riser.

    AP had the same BTB graft. It is still considered a co-gold standard with hamstring autograft. There are proponents of each. More professional athletes get BTB because it may get them back a month or so quicker (although, this is debated heavily). This may be done at a cost, however, as newer literature shows that the BTB may lead to a higher incidence of arthritis down the road.

    Now you know, and knowing is half the batlle.

  27. Loved misspelling the last word…

    Also to ctattles and agentpyro, age only matters for rehab. Not so much for basic biology. Once you are skeletally mature, the graft heals just as fast. The rehab is what limits people.

    Jerry was rehabbed enough to return. His patella didn’t heal enough.

    AP is physiologically healed enough to return. The ability to regain the lateral agility, proprioception (the body’s ability to know where its parts are in “space”) and overall strength remains to be seen.

  28. Cedric griffin came back from an acl tear after 7 to 8 months of rehab and quickly tore the other within 2 weeks of getting back on the field. Rice is right. What’s most likely to happen is Peterson will favor the other knee too much. That will likely hurt him more. Thats how terrell Davis ended his career.

  29. Stupid analogy Jerry. You returned too early in 4 months so AP shouldn’t return in 8 months? Just because you played the game doesn’t mean your opinions are good. AP thanks you, but he will actually listen to people that have seen his injury and recovery.

  30. Love all the clueless 14 yr olds that don’t even have a clue who Jerry Rice was. We have Dr.’s on here posting science and non of it contradicts JR’s words. He played at such a ridiculously high level for so long that many take for granted what he actually did. The guy wasn’t afraid to go over the middle, did running plays from scrimmage and of course was the YAC king. That’s why he’s called the GOAT.

    Taking nothing away from AP because he is such an incredible talent but he will not play for 16 seasons. He may not even play for 8 seasons. Just a little perspective ppl…

  31. AP has 9 months and Jerry had 4 (plus wasn’t he like 50?). AP has obeyed all doctors orders and didn’t saw his cast off….wait there was no cast because its no longer 1997. Medical advancements+AP is a freak= he will be just fine.

  32. The situations are completely different. For one, AD rehabbed his injury for 8 months like a beast and Rice sawed off his cast and played while he was still injured. Rice may be great but he wasn’t smart.

  33. Jerry Rice was a great receiver, but is a poor announcer and critic. I respect his play to no end, but he is out of date with today’s NFL.

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