Brett Favre and Brad Childress both responded to ESPN’s report Friday that the Vikings quarterback would have to have surgery on his left ankle if he wants to play in 2010.
“While my ankle has been bothering me, the injury is not debilitating,” Favre wrote on his web site, officialbrettfavre.com. “For example, I’m able to work around my property without any problems. Sure – certain exercises cause some ankle pain, but it’s nothing that I haven’t experienced (or played with) before. In fact, many people don’t realize that I injured my ankle before the NFC Championship game. I’ve had surgery on this ankle twice before, and I’ve played with the pain before. The hits I took throughout the 2009 season, including the Saints game, just added to the ankle pain and likely caused some bone spurs.”
Childress said the Vikings knew about the injury at the end of the season, but he didn’t specify if that was before or after the NFC Championship game.
“That’s been ongoing. That’s a life issue for him,” Childress said Friday after the Vikings’ first day of rookie minicamp. “Whether he gets things fixed now or later or has to have an elbow cleaned out now or later or a shoulder cleaned out now or later, those are kind of ongoing. At some point, he’s going to definitely have a grease, oil, filter later on down the line here.”
Players often have tune-up type of surgeries after the season, but since Favre hasn’t had the surgery yet, the timing of it – if he chooses to have it – could affect his availability for the rest of the offseason and even into training camp.
“I don’t believe major surgery on the ankle would be required for me to return in 2010. I’ve consulted with Dr. (James) Andrews on the phone, and a relatively minor procedure could be done to improve the dexterity of the ankle, and to relieve the pain,” Favre wrote. “I’ve put up with pain worse than this in my career, and I didn’t want anyone to assume that the possibility of surgery was the sole factor that would determine whether I return or not. Some people reacting to the ESPN story have made this assumption. I don’t blame them for doing so, given that the term ‘surgery’ often covers a variety of procedures, some more complex than others.”
Childress indicated that if Favre would have the surgery, the timing of it and his return shouldn’t affect the Vikings’ plans. In fact, the Vikings waited on Favre to sign with them following surgery on his partially torn biceps tendon last summer and he didn’t sign until Aug. 18, after the Mankato portion of training camp.
Favre’s familiarity with the Vikings’ version of the West Coast offense led them to take a patient approach in 2009, and now that he had a successful first year in the system, they’ll likely be just as patient with his potential return this year.
“I don’t have a lot of illusions about the timing of the thing. As I mentioned to you way back when, there was no manual back then. He played at a high level. How much does he need? He knows. I’ve got a ballpark idea how much he needs. Obviously what he got last year was plenty,” Childress said.
The head coach said he still doesn’t know if Favre will return or not, but he also affirmed Favre’s aversion to surgery in general.
“It didn’t have any bearing at the end of the season. We were aware of it and in fact spoke about it at the end of the season,” Childress said. “It’s just a matter of whether he was gonna or not gonna address it for now. We are all familiar with his aversion to surgery. That’s no surprise. It’s just something if you want to live with it, and if you want to live it your whole lifetime or you want to fix it – fix it now or fix it again later, again, I’m not a doctor.”
The Vikings have seen the medical reports on the ankle and their head athletic trainer, Eric Sugarman, has talked with Dr. Andrews about the injury, Childress said.
Favre closed his statement by saying that the ankle isn’t the only factor for the 40-year-old quarterback to consider.
“The ankle pain is a factor, but one of many factors that I’ll need to consider in making my decision,” Favre wrote. “Other factors include the input of my family, and the wonderful experience that I had last year with the Vikings.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.