Colts hit with jaw, knee injuries to Manning, James

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2001

INDIANAPOLIS -- It'll take more than a broken jaw to keep Peyton Manning off the field.

The Indianapolis Colts' quarterback, who has started every game for the team in the past four seasons, will be back Sunday despite the injury that left him bloodied and dazed.

Playing through the pain didn't seem to trouble him as much as figuring out how he was going to eat properly.

''I can't eat any solid food, just milkshakes, things like that,'' Manning said Monday, struggling to talk a day after the injury. ''But I've got to try and maintain my diet with whatever I can.''

When he does take the field against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, he won't be handing off to Edgerrin James. The two-time NFL rushing champion will miss at least two more games with ligament damage in his left knee, the team said Monday.

James was hurt in the Colts' win over Kansas City on Oct. 25 and did not play the past two weeks, the first games he's missed in his three-year pro career.

Manning sustained a hairline fracture of his jaw in the fourth quarter of a 27-24 loss to Miami when defensive end Lorenzo Bromell hit him underneath the chin strap after a pass. Bromell was penalized.

Manning left the game for one play, replaced by Mark Rypien, then returned despite his bloodied and swollen jaw.

''I saw Mark come out on the field and I really wasn't going to come out,'' Manning said. ''I've never really ever had to come out for a play before, but sometimes when you're dazed, that's when you make a mistake.''

Bledsoe expected to receive clearance to return

FOXBORO, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe is expected to be cleared to return to practice this week, and he could be ready to play Sunday night against St. Louis.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday he expects the team's doctors to give Bledsoe the OK this week. But that doesn't mean he will replace Tom Brady, who is 5-2 as a starter since Bledsoe's chest injury, as the starting quarterback.

''I can't answer any questions as to what will happen down the road,'' Belichick said. ''We expect Tom to start against St. Louis.''

The team did not have meetings on Monday, and neither Bledsoe nor Brady was available for comment. But after Sunday's 21-11 victory over Buffalo, in which Brady completed 15 of 21 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown, he said he was only thinking about the game.

''I'll let Drew be concerned about how he feels and when he is ready to go,'' Brady said. ''I don't know when he is coming back and all I know is I am going to keep playing as hard as I can.''

Johnson to miss 3-5 weeks with broken collarbone

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills quarterback Rob Johnson will miss 3-to-5 weeks with a broken collarbone.

Johnson was hurt during Sunday's 21-11 loss to New England. The Bills won't make any immediate moves to acquire a quarterback, coach Gregg Williams said Monday.

Johnson was not available for comment after flying home to California on Monday to attend his grandfather's funeral. Williams said he will discuss rehabilitation with Johnson once he returns.

Davis to have surgery on injured left knee

DENVER -- Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis injured his left knee and most likely will miss two games, the latest setback for a player sidelined for most of the past three seasons.

Arthroscopic knee surgery will force Davis to sit out for about 10 days, meaning he will miss Sunday's home game against Washington and probably a Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas.

Davis tore cartilage in his knee on a hit in the second quarter of Sunday's 26-16 win over San Diego. He played the rest of the game, rushing for 83 yards on 33 carries.

Panthers' Seifert dodges questions regarding future

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- George Seifert tried to dodge questions Monday about his future as Carolina's coach, reluctantly saying he plans to return to the Panthers next season.

Seifert, 16-25 in 2 1/2 seasons with the Panthers, is riding an eight-game losing streak, including Sunday's 48-14 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

When asked Monday if he wants to continue coaching next season, Seifert initially tried to deflect the question.

''I think that's really not the issue,'' he said. ''The issue is this football game and our next game. Maybe there is nothing else to ask, so we'll ask the old standby -- is he coming back?''

To that, Seifert said he plans to.

''I've got a contract, I plan on coaching the club,'' he said.

Seifert has two more years on the five-year deal Carolina gave him in 1999 to lure him out of retirement. Before coming to the Panthers, he had never had a losing season in the NFL and won two Super Bowls with San Francisco.

Lions' Mornhinweg reflects on 0-8 start

PONTIAC, Mich. -- Coach Marty Mornhinweg never dreamed that his Detroit Lions would be 0-8 and at the very bottom of the NFL at midseason.

''It's been a crazy start and an unusual start,'' Mornhinweg said Monday. ''I don't think there are too many people who have been through a stretch of games like this before.''

After three routs to start the season, Detroit had a chance to win each of the last five games, but fell just short -- losing them by an average of less than five points. The latest was Sunday's 20-17 loss to Tampa Bay.

''In the past five games, we have shown that we can play with just about any team,'' he said. ''We are playing well enough to stay with them. We just aren't playing well enough to win the games.''

Warrick Dunn caught a short pass and broke it up the middle for 23 yards to the Detroit 26, putting the Buccaneers in position for Martin Gramatica's 35-yard field goal with 4 seconds left. The Lions dropped defensive lineman James Hall into coverage, but he fell down, allowing the big play.

''It wasn't all James -- our whole defense was at fault,'' Mornhinweg said. ''We had five guys playing across the field, so that pass can't go for more than 5 or 6 yards.''


MANSFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- New England Patriots defensive back Hakim Akbar was hospitalized Monday after an automobile accident.

Akbar, a rookie, was in satisfactory condition, said Nancy Cawley, spokeswoman for Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.

Akbar was traveling north on Interstate 95 in Mansfield when his sport utility vehicle went off the highway and rolled over at about 1:30 a.m., State Police Lt. Paul Maloney said.

Maloney said Akbar was ejected from the vehicle and landed in a marsh. He was alone in the car.

Maloney said speed might have been a factor in the crash, but alcohol does not appear to have been involved.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he didn't know the extent of Akbar's injuries. ''I think it's unlikely he'll be playing football any time in the immediate future,'' he said.

Akbar played college football at the University of Washington and was drafted by the Patriots in the fifth round in 2001.


DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Miami cornerback Sam Madison will be listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the New York Jets with a separated right shoulder.

Madison, who made the Pro Bowl after last season, hurt his shoulder making an interception in the second quarter of Sunday's victory at Indianapolis. His arm was in a sling Monday.

Madison has started 55 consecutive games, beginning with the final game of his rookie season in 1997. If he can't play, he'll be replaced by rookie Jamar Fletcher, Miami's first-round draft choice this year.


CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Cincinnati Bengals have decided to resod the middle of their field because of damage caused by two high school marching bands that performed during playoff games held at Paul Brown Stadium last weekend.

The Bengals tried to prevent the bands from going on the field at halftime Saturday, arguing they would harm the grass.

County commissioners held an emergency meeting Friday night and ordered the Bengals to let the bands use the field. The Bengals were in Jacksonville, where they lost 30-13 Sunday.

The grass already was showing wear and tear following a game Oct. 21 against Chicago. There were bald patches in the middle of the field.

The team said in a statement Monday that the middle of the field will get new sod following a game this Sunday against Tennessee. The Bengals are in Cleveland the next weekend.


ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -- Seattle running back Shaun Alexander had the Oakland Raiders shaking their heads in both disgust and awe on Monday.

''As a defense, we're embarrassed by what happened,'' Raiders defensive end Tony Bryant said, referring to Alexander's 266 yards rushing Sunday night. It was the fourth-best single-game effort in NFL history.

The Seahawks defeated the Raiders 34-27.

''Seattle played great, but we didn't bring our game. We can't let that happen. We have to go over things and see what we have to correct,'' Bryant said.

Oakland entered the game as the NFC's third-best team against the run, allowing an average of 92 yards. The Seahawks rushed for 319 yards, pushing the Raiders to No. 10 against the run at 120.4 yards.

''I'm very surprised by the number of yards anybody could run against our defense,'' Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. ''We knew he (Alexander) was an emerging player capable of making big runs. He did that repeatedly against us.''

While the Raiders consistently missed tackles and assignments, Gruden also gave Alexander -- whose 88-yard run in the third quarter was not only the longest in Seattle history, but also the longest ever against the Raiders -- some credit.

''We left some gaps unaccounted for, and if a back cuts it back, there's a chance to break containment,'' Gruden said. ''I don't know how it happens, but he made people miss and he made some runs.''

In the aftermath of Seattle's success on the ground, Gruden promised there would be some changes made, even suggesting possible personnel changes.

''We gave up over 300 yards rushing. That's a first for me, and I expect it to be the last,'' Gruden said. ''We're not going to make radical changes, though some may be in order.''


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- New York Giants halfback Tiki Barber is starting to look like the player who was the catalyst of the team's surprising run to the NFC title a year ago.

Barber, who missed most of training camp with a broken hand and two regular-season games with a hamstring injury, had a season-best 118 yards rushing in Sunday's 17-10 win over the Cardinals in Arizona.

''Tiki looked to me like he was in top form,'' Giants coach Jim Fassel said Monday. ''After the amount of time he missed, now he's back in a groove.''

Barber's rushing total was more than double his previous best of 55 yards against Philadelphia on Oct. 22. It also was his first 100-yard game since gaining 144 against the Cardinals in the 2000 season opener.

It was the second 100-yard rushing game for the Giants this season. Ron Dayne gained 111 against New Orleans in late September.

''I feel healthy,'' Barber said after the Giants (5-4) won their second straight. ''I feel like I'm in a rhythm now.''

Barber felt the same way the previous week in a 27-24 overtime win over Dallas.

However, he had only seven carries for 30 yards as New York was forced to throw after falling behind 24-7 at halftime.

''This week, we were able to stay regular,'' said Barber, who picked up two first downs in the closing minutes as the Giants nearly ran out the clock. ''We were able to get 4 or 5 yards on first down, and that allowed me to get on the field and use my speed.''

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