Brackens out for season with ailing knee

Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2002

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tony Brackens decided to end the charade Tuesday, calling it quits on a season in which his injured knee kept him from practicing regularly or playing up to his standards.

The Jacksonville Jaguars placed their all-time sack leader on injured reserve, allowing him to have surgery on the ailing left knee that made him a shell of his former Pro Bowl self.

''He has shown patience and perseverance, he has played with pain, and he has tried to be the productive player that we know he is,'' Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin said. ''But instead of gaining confidence in the knee, he has been losing confidence.''

Brackens practiced once a week and played in about half the plays this season. He finished the season with 16 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery in five games. Last week, the seventh-year veteran said he saw no improvement in the ailing knee, and saw no light at the end of the tunnel, either.

''It's day-to-day,'' Brackens said. ''I can't really look toward the end of the tunnel when I'm waking up in the morning and I'm just glad if I can get up.''

Brackens wasn't immediately available for comment Tuesday.

Last January, Brackens had an operation to remove scarring from the knee. He told doctors not to work on any further damage that might exist, so that he wouldn't miss this season in rehab.

In November 2000, Brackens' former teammate, Hardy Nickerson, had been in a similar situation. Doctors did more extensive surgery on Nickerson's knee than Nickerson requested, and he wound up missing the final seven games of the season because of it.

Boselli out for year to recover from shoulder injuries

HOUSTON -- Tony Boselli expects to play football again. It just won't be this season.

The Houston Texans placed Boselli on injured reserve Tuesday, giving up hope that the five-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle will recover this season from three shoulder operations in the past year.

The Texans thought Boselli would be a cornerstone for the offensive line this season, selecting the veteran first in the expansion draft. They wanted Boselli to block for No. 1 NFL draft pick David Carr at the crucial left tackle spot.

Although he hasn't played in more than a year, Boselli insists his career isn't over.

''I'm confident I'll be back out there,'' Boselli said. ''Obviously, it's not the timetable I wanted.

''If I thought there was no chance I'd play again, we'd quit and go a different direction, but I'm confident I can play football still and that's the direction we're going in.''

Boselli played in three games for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season before injuries to both shoulders sidelined him for the season. He was placed on injured reserve by the Jaguars last Oct. 22.

Boselli was making progress since joining Houston, but he wasn't gaining strength fast enough to allow him to compete.

''Once we hit September, we're on a clock,'' general manager Charley Casserly said. ''We have 17 weeks to play 16 games. If your objective is to have him play this season, at some point you have to accelerate certain processes.''

Boselli simply didn't have enough strength.

''We were never going to compromise him just to get him on the field,'' Casserly said.

The team physician, Dr. Walter Lowe, thinks Boselli has plenty of football left.

''I don't even want to have that talk today,'' Lowe said. ''I think Tony believes he'll play again. I believe he'll play again.

''We have a ways to go to get to that point.''

In Boselli's absence, the Texans moved rookie second-round pick Chester Pitts from guard to left tackle, where he has started all five games.

Injuries in the offensive line have been a problem all season.

Guard Ryan Schau recovered from a knee injury and started last week's game against Buffalo. Tackle Ryan Young has resumed workouts following a groin injury and could play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

''For the first time this week, we'll have our full complement of players out there after making this decision with Tony,'' coach Dom Capers said. ''There's been uncertainty trying to measure Tony's progress.''

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