Palmetto Bay, Fla. Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was critically wounded in a pre-dawn shooting at his home Monday, and doctors were encouraged when he responded to simple commands after several hours of surgery.
The 24-year-old player was shot in the upper leg, damaging an artery and causing significant blood loss. Family members were concerned that he could have permanent brain damage.
"The doctors are being very guarded about their prognosis," said family friend Richard Sharpstein, Taylor's former lawyer. "They're being a little bit skeptical about either whether he might make it or whether it might cause some permanent brain injury."
Later Monday, Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins' vice president of football operations, offered encouraging news from the hospital.
"He was responsive to the doctor's request to squeeze his hand and show facial expression, and so the doctors were very happy about that," said Cerrato, who flew to Florida on owner Dan Snyder's plane with Snyder, running back Clinton Portis and trainer Bubba Tyer. "They told us to hope for a miracle, and I think the positive news we got was extremely good news."
Miami-Dade Police were investigating the attack, which came just eight days after an intruder was reported at Taylor's home. Officers were dispatched about 1:45 a.m. Monday after Taylor's girlfriend called 911. Taylor was airlifted to the hospital.
"For all of us here, we're obviously in shock," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said at the team's practice facility in Ashburn, Va. "I know I can't put it in words."
Sharpstein said Taylor's girlfriend told him the couple was awakened by loud noises, and Taylor grabbed a machete he keeps in the bedroom for protection. Someone then broke through the bedroom door and fired two shots, one missing and one hitting Taylor, Sharpstein said.
In other NFL news:
¢ Peterson could return: Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson is on track to return to the field this week, just in time for a pivotal NFC North game against Detroit. Peterson tore the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee three weeks ago against Green Bay.
¢ Bills lose DE Kelsay: The banged-up Bills aren't getting any healthier and could be down yet another starter, defensive end Chris Kelsay, when they play Washington. Kelsay is still wearing a protective boot on his injured left ankle and it might take several days to determine the severity of the injury, coach Dick Jauron said Monday.
¢ Lions put OT on IR: The Lions put offensive tackle Jonathan Scott on injured reserve due to a hamstring problem, ending his season, and signed Barry Stokes.
¢ Jaguars TEs dropping: The Jaguars lost two of their three tight ends for the season. George Wrighster tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Sunday's 36-14 win over Buffalo, and Greg Estandia injured his shoulder. Both players were placed on injured reserve Monday and will have season-ending surgery.
¢ Cowboys's Crayton returns: Wide receiver Patrick Crayton was back at practice Monday and expects to play in the NFC showdown against Green Bay after missing last week's game due to a sprained left ankle.
¢ Rams' LB out for year?: Rams outside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa could miss the rest of the season because of a torn knee ligament, and quarterback Marc Bulger's status for this week is in doubt due to a concussion.