Vikings LB Cameron Smith underwent successful open-heart surgery
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith has undergone successful open-heart surgery to treat a congenital defect uncovered in the wake of a false-positive COVID-19 test earlier this month.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer announced the positive news while speaking to reporters from camp on Tuesday.
“We’re happy about that,” Zimmer said, per the Star Tribune. “They were able to repair the heart, and he’s in good shape.”
Smith was set to enter his second NFL season out of USC, but announced he would sit out the 2020 campaign after learning he needed surgery to repair a bicuspid aortic valve.
The 23-year-old linebacker made the sobering announcement on social media.
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Earlier this week I found out I need open heart surgery to fix a bicuspid aortic valve that I was born with. Although this will unfortunately end my 2020 season, it is really a blessing that we found this as my heart is severely enlarged and wouldn’t have lasted much longer. I found this out after I tested positive for COVID and had to have further testing done as protocol. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but I could really feel him on this one!🙏🏻 There is a surgery that will allow me to continue to play football as soon as I am healed and cleared and I didn’t think twice about going with that one. By no means am I ready to be done playing football, there is still so much more I want to accomplish on the field. Im going to attack this like everything else I have in life. Already looking forward to the comeback! #SKOL
Smith’s surgery was performed in Philadelphia, which will keep him on the East Coast for the foreseeable future as he begins a 12-week rehabilitation regimen. However, Zimmer envisions Smith returning to the team when possible.
“He’ll come to meetings, he’ll draw [play] cards, he’ll help with the scout team, anything,” Zimmer said. “We’re hopeful he comes back and he’s able to play football, but more importantly, he looks like he’s going to be great in health.”
Smith, a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, appeared in five games during his rookie season, making eight tackles in limited action primarily on special teams.