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  1. #1

    Exclamation Michael Bennett Might Be Out For The Season

    Already resigned to opening training camp without Michael Bennett, the Minnesota Vikings might now confront a far more dire circumstance, with learning that the star tailback could conceivably be sidelined for the entire 2003 season.

    Bennett on Wednesday sought a second opinion on his surgically repaired left foot and, according to NFL sources with knowledge of the examination, the results were not very promising for the third-year back. The examination performed by Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., revealed that the so-called "Jones fracture," suffered earlier this spring, is not healing as quickly as was anticipated.

    One of the leading foot specialists in the country, Anderson has not yet recommended a second operation, and will attempt to promote healing with non-surgical treatments. But sources said that, depending on how the foot responds between now and the beginning of the season, Bennett could miss a portion of the campaign and possibly the entire year.

    It is all but a given now that Bennett will not be on the field when the Vikings open camp July 26. When he returns, given Wednesday's exam, which included a CAT scan, is now reduced to a matter of speculation.

    "There is valid reason now for concern," one source said. "There is some chance Michael will be out for a significant portion of the season. Maybe all of it. They're going back to bone stimulation (treatment), and things like that, but this certainly isn't good news."

    On Tuesday, John Clayton of reported that Bennett had suffered a "setback" in his rehabilitation from the March surgery and might miss the start of camp. The latest report, though, dramatically exacerbates the situation and could leave Minnesota without a proven tailback for 2003.

    The club's first-round choice in the 2001 draft, Bennett initially injured his left foot early in the offseason, although he isn't sure of precisely when the fracture occurred. Bennett experienced pain in the foot while working out on a treadmill, and apprised team trainers of it, and a subsequent examination indicated the fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone.

    Early indications were that there were no complications and that the foot would heal in the normal rehabilitation time, about six weeks, with Bennett scheduled to be recovered in time for camp. At recent mini-camps, though, Bennett experienced soreness and pain in the foot. That prompted his request for a second opinion.

    Bennett and team officials believed, until Wednesday, that the pain was just a function of the rehabilitation process, a soreness a result of the tailback participating in his first full workouts in three months. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and Bennett and the team face weeks of uncertainty.

    "It might come down," said one source, "to how much pain (Bennett) can handle. And then again, that might not even be the case, especially if the healing process is slow."

    The loss of Bennett, especially for a prolonged period, would be a blow to a Vikings team that very quietly led the league in rushing in 2002. Bennett, 24, certainly was a principle catalyst for a running game that averaged 156.7 yards per game, as the former Wisconsin standout rushed for 1,296 yards, in what most observers felt was a breakout season that concluded with the tailback going to the Pro Bowl.

    Without a healthy Bennett in the backfield, the Minnesota rushing attack most likely will be diminished.

    The other three tailbacks on the roster -- veterans Moe Williams and Doug Chapman and rookie Onterrio Smith -- have combined for just 1,184 rushing yards. Williams is coming off a career-high 414 yards in 2002, but the six-year veteran has mostly performed as a short-yardage back during his career, and has never carried more than 84 times.

    A third-round pick in the 2000 draft, Chapman is said to have great promise, but he has just 284 rushing yards in three seasons. Smith was a fourth-round choice this year, and the former Oregon standout was regarded as a tremendous value on the second day of the lottery, but faces the typical rookie challenges.


    Good thing I didn't invest in his 01 eTopps like I wanted to.

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  3. #2
    I'm glad, i hate the Vikings so much. Plus it's one less decent rusher in the division for the Lions to handle.

  4. #3

  5. #4
    Their pro bowl tight end might also miss the year now too!

  6. #5
    I know dtown dude had Bennett on his one fantasy team... he better get to trading him!

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