Archive for Saturday, October 27, 2001

Colts’ James could miss game

Indianapolis running back might be sidelined by sprained knee

October 27, 2001


— Two-time NFL rushing champ Edgerrin James could miss the Indianapolis Colts game next week at Buffalo because of a sprained left knee.

James injured the knee with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining in Thursday's 35-28 victory at Kansas City. James was hurt when his foot stuck in the Arrowhead Stadium grass as linebacker Marvcus Patton tackled him.

Colts coach Jim Mora said James had an MRI exam Friday that confirmed he had a sprained knee but no structural damage.

Mora listed James as questionable, meaning there's a 50-50 chance he would play Nov. 4 against the Bills.

"The MRI showed that it was sprained, which was basically the prognosis last night," Mora said. "I haven't talked to him today, but (trainer) Hunter (Smith) has, and he said Edgerrin felt pretty good."

James and other Colts players were not available Friday because Mora gave them three off days.

James won rushing titles in each of his first two NFL seasons and, through six games this season, is in contention for a third straight crown.

On Thursday, James carried 27 times for 102 yards. It was his fifth 100-yard game this season and the 24th of his career, which tied the team record set by Eric Dickerson.

Earlier this season, James tied Jim Brown as the second-fastest running back to 3,500 yards rushing, which he achieved in 34 games. James has 3,924 yards rushing in his career.

The knee injury, however, has put James' streak of 38 consecutive starts in jeopardy. Indianapolis doesn't practice again until Monday, and Mora said he "doubted" James would practice then.

"We've still got nine days before we play again," Mora said. "So we're going to take it day-by-day."

If James cannot go, the Colts appear to have found a more than adequate replacement in backup Dominic Rhodes.

Until Thursday, Rhodes, a rookie free agent from Midwestern Texas State, had carried six times for 56 yards.

In James' absence Friday, Rhodes burst onto the scene by returning a kickoff 88 yards for one touchdown, then racing 77 yards for another touchdown on his fourth carry.

Rhodes' run was the fourth-longest in franchise history and the longest by a Colt since Tom Matte raced 80 yards against the St. Louis Cardinals on Oct. 12, 1964.

"I was just glad to get the opportunity," Rhodes said after the game. "I wish it wasn't because Edgerrin got hurt. (Running backs) Coach (Gene) Huey has been telling me to just hang in there and my time would come. I guess he was right tonight."

Rhodes outran Chiefs defenders to the end zone on both touchdown runs and played well enough to put Mora's mind at ease if James cannot play a week from Sunday.

Mora said he would wait to see if Terrence Wilkins could return. The wide receiver-returner has missed the last two games with broken ribs. If neither Wilkins nor James plays, Rhodes is likely to see double duty.

But Mora remains optimistic that James will heal during the nine-day break between games.

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