EAGAN, Minn. – Shortly after arriving back home from London in the wee hours of Monday morning, Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell called Lewis Cine.
Cine, who suffered a compound fracture to his lower left leg against the Saints Sunday, stayed behind in London with a member of Minnesota’s medical staff.
“I was able to speak with Lew last night when we arrived back here in the Twin Cities, spoke with him for about 20 minutes, which obviously was great for me to be able to touch base with him and speak with him and make sure he was doing well, all things considered,” O’Connell said.
O’Connell met virtually with Twin Cities media members Monday afternoon after the Vikings released the following statement:
After suffering an injury in yesterday’s game, Lewis Cine was immediately transported to a local hospital where he underwent a successful preparatory procedure in advance of his scheduled surgery tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 4. Following surgery, Lewis will remain in London to continue his initial recovery process before returning to Minnesota at the appropriate time. A member of the Vikings medical staff will also stay in London until Lewis returns. Head Coach Kevin O’Connell and members of the Vikings organization have been in constant communication with Lewis, who is in great spirits.
O’Connell spoke highly of the “great care” Cine is receiving in the UK The rookie safety will be undergoing the full surgery around 2 pm in London (8 am CT) Tuesday. He will return to the United States “when the time is right” medically.
“[We want to] make sure we can get our arms wrapped around Lew and get him back in our facility as soon as possible with the mindset of doing whatever is in Lew’s best interest,” O’Connell said.”[Executive Director of Player Health & Performance] Tyler [Williams], [Head Athletic Trainer] Uriah [Myrie] and our staff have a great plan for him, and I obviously feel great knowing we’ve got one of our medical staff there with him that will travel home with him, as well.”
In regards to Cine’s chances of returning to the football field, O’Connell emphasized that the team is focused first and foremost on prioritizing his wellbeing – both physical and emotional.
“We’ve been so short-term as far as making sure that he’s getting the care, both medically and then support-wise from us as an organization knowing, ‘Hey, although we had to leave and come home, Lew, we’ re still right there with you,'” he said.
O’Connell said this isn’t his first time working with a player who’s suffered this particular injury and is “extra sensitive” toward the situation and providing the appropriate support.
“Everything moving forward is about Lew and day-by-day knowing that we’re right there with him as he makes his way back to, hopefully, a full recovery,” O’Connell said. “We’re going to do everything in our power, and I know the player and the person and the human being that Lewis is, I think fans probably felt that with the reaction of our team in the game with every single member of our football team going out there just wanting to let Lew know we were here with him.
“That road to recovery, we’re going to talk about it a lot in the short term, but then it can tend to be lonely as you work your way back,” he continued. “I have no doubt that he’ll be attacking that every step of the way, but it’s really important that we’re right there with him and he knows every single day he’s not alone in that recovery, he’s got great medical staff here and then knows that this entire organization’s behind him.
“I’ve got very strong feelings toward Lewis as a player and a person and what his make-up is to ultimately attack this thing,” O’Connell added. “But first and foremost, we’ve got to get him fixed up, and he’s got the care he needs and he knows we’re going to get him back here as soon as we can and get our team and our players around him. “