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Injured Vikings safety Lewis Cine: ‘Nothing is going to keep me from playing next season’

Cine, a rookie from Georgia, suffered a compound fracture in his lower left leg Oct. 2 against the New Orleans Saints in London and had surgery there two days later.

NFL - New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings' Lewis Cine is brought off field after sustaining a leg injury early in the game Oct. 2 against the New Orleans Saints in London.
Paul Childs / Action Images via Reuters
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EAGAN, Minn. -- Earlier this month, Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine called it a “goal” to be back on the field for the start of next season after suffering a serious leg injury. Now he considers it a certainty.

Cine, a rookie from Georgia, suffered a compound fracture in his lower left leg Oct. 2 against the New Orleans Saints in London and had surgery there two days later. He said his rehab is continuing to go well, and he will return for the start of 2023.

“Next season, for sure,’’ Cine said in an interview with the Pioneer Press. “That’s for sure. … Nothing is going to keep me from playing next season, so I’ll do what I got to do in rehab and come back.”

Asked if doctors have told him they expect him to play next season, Cine said, “Everyone has.’’

Speaking to reporters on Nov. 4, Cine did not express a similar amount of certainty.

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“God willing, that is the goal not to miss any time coming back but it’s a day-to-day process with rehab,’’ he said then.

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Lewis Cine

Since then, Cine, who has been walking without crutches since late October, said his “leg is stronger” and that his “rehab process is going great and I can do a lot.”

Cine also addressed NFL Players’ Association president JC Tretter having posted a column earlier this month calling for the NFL to no longer play games on “slit-film” artificial turf fields because it is a “subpar” surface that results in more injuries. Slit-film fields have fibers created from a single piece of flat plastic, which create a canopy over the infill. The union also has called for the NFL to play games on grass fields.

Cine’s injury occurred when he was running down the field after a Saints punt on a “slit-film” field at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium that he considered inferior to surfaces he had played on before. However, he said he can’t say for sure that the surface in London was a factor with his injury.

“I think the odds of something happening on natural grass probably would have been lower,” Cine said of his injury. “There are studies that probably say there’s more injuries than on a regular field. … But it is what it is at the end of the day.”

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Cine called the playing surface in London “sketchy.”

“You would think (with) an international game, they would cross their t’s, dot their i’s with the field, but it didn’t happen that way,’’ he said. “There were bumps (on the field). When you were running on it, it felt like you were running on concrete, so it’s a bunch of crazy stuff. … I can’t say that’s definitely why I got hurt, but I know the field was not ideal at all.”

Cine, who played primarily on grass fields in college, said he supports what the union is doing about wanting games to be played on grass fields to “decrease injuries.” There are seven NFL teams that have “slit-film” fields, including the Vikings.

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