Sidney Rice: Not ready for camp, but 'no doubt' ready for Sept. 9 opener
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Multiple doctors suggested surgery to fix Sidney Rice's ailing hip, the Minnesota Vikings' top receiver admitted on Friday afternoon.
But Rice and Vikings coach Brad Childress both made clear they expect the injury to heal on its own, and Rice was unequivocal when asked whether he'll be ready for the season opener Sept. 9 at New Orleans.
"No doubt," Rice said.
Neither Rice nor Childress would discuss specifics about the injury. It apparently occurred during January's NFC playoffs, then flared up again at last month's minicamp, after which Rice saw one of several specialists he's consulted about the issue.
"Couple of guys thought I should have had it, but didn't need it necessarily," Rice said. "So, the plan now is just to rehab and get everything back like it's supposed to be."
The Vikings placed him on the active/physically unable to perform list along with cornerback Cedric Griffin, whose designation was no surprise as he recovers from knee reconstruction surgery.
Both players ran half-speed sprints under the close eye of trainers while their teammates practiced on Friday. And though Rice said he's seen progress recently with the injury, he said he didn't lobby to practice -- "I'm not ready for it" -- and still is having trouble coming in and out of breaks.
"Why it is lingering? Because it's still uncomfortable for him," Childress said before practice. "He was seen by not only our doctors but a couple of different specialists, and we decided we didn't want to be as aggressive as you could be -- in other words, surgical procedure.
"I think he'll be OK. I may stand corrected on that. But that's what the doctors wanted to do with it."
According to Rice, surgery would have sidelined him a "couple of weeks, four to six weeks" -- meaning if he'd had it after minicamp in mid-June, he might already be recovered.
Asked whether, in hindsight, he wishes he'd had the surgery, Rice said, "Nah. I'll be fine. I'll be fine. We've still got time before the season starts up. ... We're going to take it day to day and rehab, try to strengthen everything, and hopefully, everything will be fine."
Based on statements from Childress and Rice, there's a good chance it will be a week or two before Rice returns to drills.
"He's basically doing non-loading type of stuff so far," Childress said. "We're going to just accelerate his time on the ground out here -- his cardio and that type of thing, and we'll see how he responds to that."
One other candidate for active/PUP -- from which players can be activated at any time -- middle linebacker E.J. Henderson (leg) was cleared to practice on a limited basis and will be brought along slowly as far as contact work, Childress said.
Henderson participated in 7-on-7 passing drills during Friday's practice, which wasn't in pads, but sat out 11-on-11 work.
"I don't really notice it," Henderson said of the leg, which surgeons stabilized with a titanium rod. "Maybe a little bit warming up, just to get it warm, but I don't really notice it at all."