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Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson says no to cadaver tendon in repair of torn ACL

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Published: September 15, 2012

Doctors gave Adrian Peterson a choice.

They could fortify his injured knee with a portion of his patella tendon or hamstring.

Or they could use a cadaver.

“I definitely didn't want to (use) a cadaver (tendon),” Peterson said. “I didn't like the thought of someone else's tissue being in my body. And the hamstring is too valuable.”

Peterson chose his patella tendon.

“You have to stay on top of it to make sure your patella tendon is functioning right, too,” Peterson said. “If it gets tight you can get tendonitis. I focused on strengthening that ligament and make sure I keep it loose.”

An estimated 100,000 ACL surgeries are performed each year in the U.S. A surgeon drills two tunnels, one in the tibia (lower leg bone) and one in the femur (thigh bone) starting at the exact spot where the new ACL will be attached.

The big breakthrough was arthroscopy. Surgeons use a tiny camera placed in a 1/8th of an inch incision. It's less invasive and ensures the graft lands in the right place.

Peterson also tore the medial collateral ligament which is common with a torn ACL. But there wasn't damage to the cartilage, which was a positive.

Former OU defensive lineman Dusty Dvoracek underwent two ACL surgeries during his NFL career. He was told by doctors ACL procedures are 97 percent successful.

“It's not like 20 or 30 years ago where it could end your career,” Dvoracek said. “I don't want to say it's a routine procedure but it kind of is. They have the rehab down to a perfect science.”