Rice making slow, sure progress

Sidney Rice (Alissa Foreman/VU)

Sidney Rice is making progress in rehabilitating his hip injury, but he isn't close to ready to play. Rice and Brad Childress talked about where his comeback is at.

While most fans remain obsessed with the status of Brett Favre's return or non-return, perhaps just as big a mystery is the health of Sidney Rice's ailing hip.

Rice has been sidelined since the start of training camp and has been on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list since. While he is looking stronger all the time, Rice said the healing is a process.

"It's getting better," Rice said. "I did a little direction stuff today and am going to see how it feels tomorrow and continue to take it one day at a time."

Rice said he has sustained a couple of setbacks during the rehab process but also said it's a lot better than when camp opened three weeks ago. But, when will he come off the PUP list? Even he doesn't know for sure.

"Not sure," Rice said. "It's going to be coach's decision ultimately and I'm just going to continue rehabbing and go day-by-day with it."

Vikings coach Brad Childress said Rice has to do "way more" in his workouts to get back on the practice field, but he is seeing progress.

"Kind of accelerating it a little bit with some of the stop and start stuff. You look to see how he feels tomorrow, how do you come back from that?" Childress said on Monday. "Is it hip soreness, is it just muscle soreness? They are trying to advance him here and it's a little bit more forgiving on this good grass. He won't make it to the game this week."

There are concerns as to whether Rice will risk the chance of a recurrence of the injury if he doesn't play in a preseason game prior to the Vikings opening the 2010 season at New Orleans on Sept. 9. He said that he would love to get into a game or two – more to get his timing down with his QBs than fear of making the injury worse.

"It would be great to play in a preseason game," Rice said. "Preseason is not all bad like everybody thinks it is. You need that rhythm, you need to get the timing right with your quarterback, pick up protections and things like that and you want to be on the same page with your teammates." Rice has been pushing himself harder each day to test his ailing hip and working as hard as possible to get back on the field. Monday marked the first day that he began to work on making cuts rather than straight-line running. He said he remains day to day and can't make any predictions when he will be back. He admits it is frustrating not to be practicing with the rest of the offense, but added that the short-term frustration is worth it to come back 100 percent and make the kind of impact he did last season.

"Of course I want to be out there on the field with my teammates," Rice said. "But, at the same time, I want to be healthy when the time comes around and I really need to be out there on the field."

TUESDAY NOTES

  • While Rice's progress is coming along slowly but surely, there is more encouraging news as it pertains to Cedric Griffin. He is said to be making significant progress from the torn ACL sustained in the NFC Championship Game. He has already been ruled out for the season opener (at least that was the word a couple of weeks ago), but he is getting closer to coming off the PUP list.

  • Brian Westbrook, who at one point was rumored to be on the Vikings' radar, signed a one-year deal with the 49ers Monday. The signing came shortly after backup Glen Coffee abruptly announced his retirement.

  • Former Viking Darren Sharper remains on the PUP list for the Saints. He is targeting the Vikings in the opener Sept. 9 for his return to action.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.
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