Injuries knock Spikes, Pennington out for year

Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2005

New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington and Buffalo Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes are out for the season after being injured in games Sunday.

A person with knowledge of Pennington's injury told The Associated Press on Monday that he has a torn rotator cuff — the same injury he suffered last year and had offseason surgery to repair. The person, who declined to be identified because the team had not made an official announcement, said an MRI exam revealed the injury.

Spikes, a leader of Buffalo's defense, will be sidelined with a torn right Achilles' tendon.

Pennington was hurt in Sunday's 26-20 overtime loss to Jacksonville.

Backup Jay Fiedler also damaged his shoulder Sunday and will be sidelined, leaving third-stringer Brooks Bollinger to play quarterback against Baltimore this weekend.

Pennington and Spikes were among several NFL stars injured on Sunday, including Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, Eagles kicker David Akers and Bengals tackle Willie Anderson.

On Monday night in Denver, Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey left the field limping and grabbing his left hamstring in the second quarter against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs after tackling fullback Tony Richardson. Bailey was grimacing and yelped in pain as he was helped off the field, and Broncos officials said he would not return.

Broncos receiver Rod Smith also left the game and didn't return after getting hit in the head early in the fourth quarter. The team said he had a concussion.

Spikes, an eight-year NFL veteran in his third season with Buffalo, developed into the team's physical and inspirational leader. He was hurt in the second quarter while pressuring quarterback Michael Vick. Spikes remained face down on the field a few feet in front of Vick, then slammed his helmet to the ground when he rolled over and grimaced as he tried to kneel. He required help getting to the sideline, unable to place much weight on his right foot. He was in tears when he was carted to the training room.

''It's devastating,'' safety Troy Vincent said. ''But we can't lose the swagger. ... We're just going to have to pick up the pieces and keep rolling. No player wants that to happen to them, but that's part of the game.''

Angelo Crowell will replace Spikes, who was lured from Cincinnati in March 2003 with a six-year, $32 million contract.

The Eagles replaced distractions with injuries. Akers probably will miss Philadelphia's game at Kansas City next week because of a torn hamstring, while Donovan McNabb's status is uncertain.

Akers, who collapsed to the ground in pain after the opening kickoff, fought through the injury to make a 23-yard field goal with 9 seconds left in a 23-20 victory over Oakland on Sunday.

Coach Andy Reid downplayed a report that said Akers could miss from three to six weeks.

''It's a little too early to determine that,'' Reid said.

McNabb played with a sore chest, strained lower abdomen and a shin contusion. He finished with 365 yards passing and two touchdowns while throwing a career-high 52 passes.

McNabb was tested last week for a sports hernia, a tear in the abdominal area that likely would need surgery. Though the possibility he has a sports hernia hasn't been completely ruled out, McNabb is willing to play through the pain.

''It would be great to not have any injuries and just go out and play football and have fun,'' he said Monday, talking about his various aches and pains. ''But in life, there are adversities. It all depends on how you'll be able to overcome the adversities and move on.''

Harrison's status was uncertain Monday after he injured his knee in a win at Pittsburgh the previous day. Coach Bill Belichick refused to disclose any information until he is required to file an injury report with the league on Wednesday.

But Harrison's teammates made it pretty clear the strong safety is done for the season with a knee injury.

''I went in at halftime and you could just tell that he was hurting,'' free safety Eugene Wilson said. ''He had tears in his eyes because he loves the game so much and to go down and know that you might not be able to play, it hurts.''

Tackle Matt Light left Heinz Field on Sunday with a cast on his right leg, but Belichick didn't announce his status, either.

Anderson, Cincinnati's Pro Bowl tackle, is scheduled for an MRI on his strained back Tuesday. Anderson got hurt Sunday after making his 83rd consecutive start. He traces it to the offseason knee surgery that limited his workouts.

''If I can't (play) at a high level, which I'm used to doing, I'm pulling myself out,'' he said Monday. ''I have to make sure I'm not going to cost this team or cost myself more valuable time down the road, because this is going to be a long season.''

Minnesota safety Willie Offord will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury that puts a big dent in the secondary's depth and takes away the Vikings' special teams captain.

Offord's left knee got caught in the Metrodome's artificial grass while covering a kickoff in Sunday's game against New Orleans. Offord, who started at strong safety, re-entered the game and aggravated the injury.

''He was playing really well,'' defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell said.

Arizona QB Kurt Warner will miss next week's game against San Francisco in Mexico City with a strained right groin. Warner hurt himself scrambling in the second quarter at Seattle. On Monday, the two-time NFL MVP had a pronounced limp. He called the injury substantial, but said doctors who tested him were optimistic about a quick return.

''I think it is going to be sooner rather than later, so I'm very optimistic about it,'' Warner said. ''Maybe not as optimistic as to hope I could be out there on Sunday, but optimistic that it'll happen soon.''

The injury promotes Josh McCown to first string Sunday.

Arizona (0-3) also lost right tackle Oliver Ross (hand) and defensive tackle Russell Davis (left biceps tendon), possibly for the season.

Packers offensive coordinator Tom Rossley underwent heart tests Monday after spending the night at the hospital following a recurrence of warning signs that had sent him to the emergency room.

''If anything, we're going to dig in and do more because we're very close and we've got to get over the edge,'' Rossley said Monday after being cleared to return to work.

Rossley, 59, was hospitalized before kickoff Sunday, but he checked himself out of the hospital and returned to Lambeau Field in the second quarter of Green Bay's 17-16 loss to Tampa Bay.

Rossley, who underwent an emergency heart operation last year, still wasn't feeling well after the game, so the Packers sent him to back to Bellin Hospital for an overnight stay.

Dolphins coach Nick Saban said the teams was awaiting results of an MRI exam on linebacker Junior Seau's calf injury. Seau said Sunday he didn't think the injury was serious. Saban also said he was optimistic that second overall draft pick RB Ronnie Brown (hamstring) and safety Tebucky Jones (hamstring) would be able to play in the next game Oct. 9 at Buffalo.

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