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Strahan, Pennington, Leftwich sidelined

Posted: Tuesday, November 09, 2004

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. All-Pro Michael Strahan will miss the rest of the season with a torn muscle in his chest, leaving the New York Giants without both starting defensive ends.

Strahan, the NFL's all-time single-season sacks leader, was hurt Sunday in the third quarter of a 28-21 loss to the Chicago Bears. The 12-year veteran reached out with his arm to attempt a tackle on Anthony Thomas and his arm was bent back as the running back cut inside.

Surgery will be performed Wednesday.

''This injury is a shame because Michael really enjoys playing in this defense,'' coach Tom Coughlin said. ''He bought into our defensive philosophy and our schemes and how he fits into it.''

The news was doubly bad for the Giants because Keith Washington tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his left leg against the Bears. He also will miss the rest of the season.

Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Priest Holmes has strained ligaments in his right knee and might not be able to play next Sunday at New Orleans.

The star running back left Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay in the third quarter. His injury was first said to be a bruised knee, but the team learned Monday that Holmes has a strained MCL.

''The extent of the strain will only be known after a period of days,'' coach Dick Vermeil said. ''We'll go ahead and prepare as if he's not going to be there.''

Vermeil added that Holmes will be evaluated each day and was ''a little better'' Monday.

The 31-year-old Holmes leads the NFL with 892 yards rushing and 90 points despite being dogged much of the season with nagging injuries.

He underwent hip surgery following the 2002 season and bounced back, scoring a league-record 27 touchdowns in 2003. He scored his 14th touchdown Sunday in Kansas City's 34-31 loss to the Buccaneers before leaving after a 13-yard run around left end.

Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich probably will miss two games with a sprained left knee. Leftwich was re-evaluated Monday, and doctors determined there was no need for surgery. But he will remain in a brace and on crutches this week.

Backup David Garrard will make his second career start Sunday against Detroit.

Leftwich, who has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 1,891 yards and nine touchdowns, sprained the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee Oct. 31 at Houston. Jacksonville had a bye Sunday.

Jets

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. Quarterback Chad Pennington will miss two to four weeks with a strained right rotator cuff.

Pennington was hurt in the first quarter of a 22-17 loss to Buffalo on Sunday when he scrambled up the middle for a 12-yard gain. Rather than sliding, he dived ahead and was hit from the right side by linebacker London Fletcher, who forced a fumble.

Pennington continued playing, but his arm started to stiffen and he left the game in the fourth quarter after talking with coach Herman Edwards. The conversation took place after Pennington's last two drives ended with an interception and a 13-yard sack.

Former Cowboys starter Quincy Carter will start Sunday against Baltimore.

Bears

LAKE FOREST, Ill. Rookie quarterback Craig Krenzel expects to practice this week and play Sunday at Tennessee. Krenzel's ribs were hurting at halftime Sunday, but he stayed in the game and the Bears rode a stellar defensive effort five turnovers and seven sacks to a 28-20 win over the New York Giants. X-rays after the game showed no cause for alarm.

Krenzel is 2-0 as a starter for the Bears.

''I feel all right. It's just part of the game, you get banged around a little bit and a little bit sore,'' Krenzel said Monday. ''I feel much better today. ... Everything looks fine.''

Krenzel was 8-for-21 for 144 yards with a 35-yard TD pass to fellow rookie Bernard Berrian.

The Bears activated tackle Marc Colombo from the physically unable to perform list and waived guard Mike Gandy. Colombo, who hasn't played since the fifth game of 2002, returned to practice Oct. 20 following a lengthy rehabilitation of his injured left knee.

Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. After 23 days of rest and rehab from a single-car accident, Rod Coleman returned to practice Monday.

The sixth-year defensive tackle practiced with a brace on his left knee, but does not know if he will use it Sunday when the Falcons (6-2) host Tampa Bay (3-5).

Coleman indicated his calf, still slightly swollen, bothered him more than his knee.

''Other than being a little stiff and needing some work on my timing, I feel pretty good,'' Coleman said. ''I'm ready to go.''

Coleman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee after swerving to avoid hitting a deer and flipping his 2003 Cadillac Escalade. Hall County sheriff's deputy C.G. Wallace, who arrived on the scene at 4:30 a.m., did not charge him in the incident, but a report filed later that morning stated that Coleman, 28, had been drinking.

According to the report, Coleman passed a series of field sobriety tests. He told Wallace that he preferred a ride home rather than take a trip to a nearby emergency room.

Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Drew Bledsoe is suddenly efficient. Willis McGahee is rushing for 100 yards with every start. And the defense is making big plays in the clutch.

Buffalo opened the season with four straight losses, but now is 3-5 after Sunday's win over the Jets. Given the chance Monday, rookie head coach Mike Mularkey declined to say, 'I told you so,' in part because the Bills still have much work to do to make something out of the second half of their season.

But Mularkey can't deny he's encouraged by the sudden resurgence. It's a stretch that's buoyed the team, and validated the coach's message of patience and a conservative ball-control.

''They're getting it,'' Mularkey said, referring to his players. ''When you have production that supports what you've been talking about for months and months, there's no better support than actually having it happen on the field.''

Bledsoe was virtually mistake-free, incurring no sacks and no turnovers for the second consecutive game. That's a considerable turnaround for Bledsoe, who had been sacked 23 times and threw seven interceptions in his first six games this season.

McGahee bolstered the offense with 132 yards rushing on 37 carries, allowing the Bills to dominate time of possession by almost 15 minutes. It was McGahee's third 100-yard game in his third career start, and the Bills have won all three times.

Just as important, their defense didn't wilt when it counted, the type of overall effort linebacker Takeo Spikes had envisioned.

''Over the past month, I really felt like we were growing,'' Spikes said. ''Now you can turn on the film and say, 'OK, now they have some type of credibility about themselves.'''

Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Rookie tight end Courtney Anderson will miss four to six weeks with a sprained left knee. Also, guard Ron Stone underwent arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome left knee and is expected to be sidelined the same amount of time. Stone has already missed four games after starting the first four of the season.

Anderson started in place of Doug Jolley in Sunday's 27-24 win at Carolina in one of several personnel changes made by coach Norv Turner to kick-start the struggling Raiders (3-6). Anderson was injured late in the second quarter while blocking near the goal line on Tyrone Wheatley's second touchdown of the game.

''It's fairly serious,'' Turner said Monday.

Anderson, a seventh-round draft pick this year out of San Jose State, has 13 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown this season.

''I've done it before to my knee,'' Anderson said after the game. ''It was great to start, but I'm disappointed it ended the way it did.''

Both Anderson and Stone could wind up on injured reserve, though such a decision won't be made for a couple of weeks until the Raiders know how their recovery goes especially with Anderson.

Kicker Sebastian Janikowski strained his groin in the game and he's another player Turner believes will heal during this bye week.

Bengals

CINCINNATI (AP) Receiver Chad Johnson apologized Monday for letting frustration get the best of him during the Bengals' most convincing victory of the season.

He promised it won't happen again.

Johnson, one of the team's most popular players, was harshly criticized by fans for letting his frustration show during a 26-3 victory over Dallas on Sunday. Fans interpreted his outbursts throwing a beverage cup on the sideline, angrily pulling off his chin strap after an incompletion as annoyance that he wasn't getting enough passes thrown his way.

Johnson said the issue wasn't his number of catches, but the number of mistakes he made in blocking and other assignments.

''It has nothing to do with what everyone thinks it is, what they're perceiving,'' Johnson said. ''It might have been my bad for coming off that way. You won't see that again. I made a mistake.''

Coach Marvin Lewis went over to Johnson on the bench and had a long talk late in the third quarter. He ended it by putting his hand on the Pro Bowl receiver's head and then patting him on the shoulder.

Lewis hates when his players celebrate a touchdown or show frustration over a setback.

''He brought attention to himself with his disappointment, and it's over with,'' Lewis said Monday. ''He's learned to deal with this. No big deal. He's done it before.

''The only thing is, it's been a problem around here for a long time. It didn't just start yesterday. So we're going back and looking at history, trying to fix history a little bit.''



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