EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Terry Allen is practicing again. After recovering from his second major knee surgery in three years, that's enough right now for the Minnesota Vikings running back.
"I'm just the happiest person in the world to be at training camp," the four-year veteran said Friday after running plays with his teammates for the first time since last summer. "Having to sit it out makes me appreciate it a lot more. I'm expecting good things this season for myself and the team."
The Vikings were expecting great things from Allen last year when he reported to training camp fresh from setting a single-season rushing record--1,201 yards--in 1992. The 5-foot-9 197-pounder from Clemson had just signed a three-year, $4.5 million contract extension and was to be the featured back in 1993.
But his season ended before it began. On July 22, Allen tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while planting his foot during a routine play in training camp. There was no improvement for about a month, so he underwent reconstructive surgery Aug. 20.
"I had prepared all summer for the season and in one play it was all over," he said. "The rest of the guys were out having fun and you want to be out with them. It makes you find out what kind of person you are."
Instead of weaving between defensive backs, Allen was wandering from the weight room to the indoor bike and stair machine. He was on the sidelines for home games and watched road games on television. Sundays in general were not easy for him.
Allen dreaded going through exhaustive rehabilitation since the routine wasn't new for him. Three years earlier, he injured his left knee during training camp and had to miss the entire season recovering from similar reconstructive surgery.