Peterson came within nine yards of breaking Eric Dickerson‘s single-season NFL rushing record, finishing with a jaw-dropping 2,097 almost one calendar year after having reconstructive surgery on his shredded left knee. Now, Peterson has revealed that he played the last seven weeks of the season with a sports hernia, according to ESPN.com, suffering the injury during a 34-24 win over the Lions in Week 10.
Peterson underwent surgery to repair the groin tear on Thursday and explained just how difficult it was to play through.
“That next day I felt very uncomfortable in my groin and abdominal area. I thought to myself, I’ll just wait until I recover but I never did,” Peterson said. “I kept thinking to myself, why is this happening and why now? With everything that I was going through with my knee I just said to myself I am not going to let this bring me down. I just focused on doing my rehab, getting rest and continuing to play.”
Peterson fought through the injury during the Week 10 win, running for 171 yards on the day and was even more impressive in the weeks afterward. His three best outings of the season, including a pair of 200-plus yard games and a 199-yarder in the season finale, came after the injury.
So, if responding to an ACL tear with a 2,000-yard season wasn’t enough to convince you he was the right choice for MVP, then maybe knowing that he gained 1,068 yards over the final seven games of the season while also battling a sports hernia will persuade you.
Peyton Manning had a terrific comeback season and was all too deserving of the Comeback Player of the Year award that he won. But the way Peterson was able to return from one debilitating injury only to fight through another limiting one for half the season is just too unbelievable to overlook.
There hasn’t been a season quite like Peterson’s in some time, and there likely won’t be again anytime soon. What he did in 2012 was unprecedented and more deserving of an MVP award than any player since maybe Tom Brady in 2007.
Now, Peterson just has to worry about trying to one-up himself next season, because that will not be an easy feat.