MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is expected to enter a plea of not guilty, if asked, to a charge of injuring his 4-year-old son when he appears in court on Wednesday in Texas, a spokeswoman for his attorney said on Tuesday.
Peterson, 29, a National Football League most valuable player in 2012, was charged in September with injuring his son in May, one of several domestic violence or abuse cases that have marred the league’s reputation this year.
He is scheduled to appear in a Montgomery County court on Wednesday morning for his first hearing since his indictment by a grand jury in the county north of Houston. Peterson was detained briefly and released on bond in September.
“We expect him to plead not guilty if asked by the judge tomorrow,” said Mary Flood, a spokeswoman for Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin.
It is unclear whether he will be asked to enter a plea. Peterson could be sentenced to up to two years in prison and fined $10,000 if convicted of the charge.
Peterson has admitted using a switch, the thin end of a tree branch, to discipline his son, but said he was not trying to injure him and that his actions reflected the types of discipline he received growing up.
A six-time Pro Bowl running back for the Vikings, Peterson sat out one game and was reinstated briefly, drawing widespread criticism. The team then put him on indefinite paid leave.
The charge against Peterson followed by days the emergence of a video in which another prominent running back, Ray Rice, could be seen knocking out his future wife in early 2014.
Rice had been suspended two games for the incident involving his then-fiancee, but was released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after the video circulated.
Additional reporting by Amanda Orr in Houston; Editing by Peter Cooney