Edwards looks lost for season


Edwards looks lost for season

Injured hamstring might need surgery

By RICK BRAUN Packer Plus writer

Thursday, December 4, 2003

Green Bay — As he was on his way to winning the starting strong safety job with the Green Bay Packers during training camp, Antuan Edwards talked about how good it felt to finally be healthy.

His good fortune only lasted three months.

Edwards suffered a partial tear of his right hamstring in last Thursday’s 22-14 loss to the Detroit Lions and could face season- ending surgery.

Even if surgery isn’t necessary, the injury might not heal in time for Edwards to return to the field this season.

“Right now I have to be patient,” Edwards told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “They’ll re-evaluate me and see how it goes. After that, they’ll make a decision whether to do surgery or let it heal.

“It’s like the same old, same old.”

Edwards’ career has been marred by injuries.

Taken by the Packers in the first round of the 1999 draft out of Clemson, Edwards was hampered by a foot injury.

He played in all 16 games as a rookie but missed four games in 2000 with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. He also played through a broken rib during that season.

He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the third game of the 2001 season and missed the final 13 regular- season games and the two playoff games that year.

In 2002, Week 3 was again his downfall. Having come back from the serious knee injury, Edwards was the starting strong safety before breaking his right forearm against the Detroit Lions. He missed four games with that injury and was a backup when he returned, although he did start one more game.

Edwards also missed two games this season with a sprained ankle.

With Edwards out, Marques Anderson will start alongside free safety Darren Sharper. Edwards and Anderson started in the Thanksgiving game at Detroit as Sharper missed the game with a bruised lung suffered in the victory over San Francisco.

Edwards is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Barnett improving

Rookie middle linebacker Nick Barnett also missed last Thursday’s game with a sprained ankle but is hopeful he’ll be ready to go against the Chicago Bears this Sunday.

“I think I’ll be ready to go,” he said.

Barnett sprained his right ankle against San Francisco on the first series when he stepped on the foot of nose tackle Gilbert Brown after a play.

He and Sharper missed the game against the Lions as they had just three days to recover because of the short week.

Barnett wasn’t sure if he would have been able to play if the game had been on Sunday instead of Thursday. And he thought it might have been best to sit in the long run.

“I think I could have played (if the game was on Sunday), but I don’t think I’d be where I am right now if I had played,” Barnett said on Monday. “I think I’m pretty far along in my recovery, but if I would have played on Sunday, I think it would have set me back.

“So I’m just happy that we had this little weekend off.”


Along with Sharper and Barnett, rookie defensive lineman Kenny Peterson also was inactive because of injury. He suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee against San Francisco.

Offensive lineman Marcus Spriggs has a hamstring injury and also was inactive, but he had been inactive the previous eight weeks when he was healthy.

The rest of the inactives were: linebacker Marcus Wilkins, tackle Brennan Curtin and defensive end Jamal Reynolds. Craig Nall, as he has been all season, was the third quarterback.

As for injuries in the Detroit game, safety Marques Anderson took a blow to the head, and linebackers Na’il Diggs and Paris Lenon suffered knee injuries that were not serious.

Getting returns

Najeh Davenport and Robert Ferguson replaced Antonio Chatman as the deep men on kickoff returns beginning with the Tampa Bay game on Nov. 17, and for the second time in three games, Davenport had a return of more than 50 yards.

After Jason Hanson’s fourth of five field goals gave the Lions a 19-14 lead five minutes into the fourth quarter, Davenport too the kickoff 57 yards to the Detroit 40. Against Tampa Bay, he had a 56- yard kickoff return.

The Packers did not capitalize on the big return last Thursday, though, as quarterback Brett Favre threw the second of his three interceptions.

Although Davenport has had the two big returns, Packer coach Mike Sherman said he wouldn’t put Davenport deep alone as he has done with Chatman.

“He’s a big man at 255 (pounds) and to cover ground and accept every kickoff, it’s not something I think he’s capable of at this point,” Sherman said of Davenport. “Not that he’s not athletic enough it’s just a man his size can’t cover the whole field so you need two people back there.”

Marshall fills in

With Barnett out of the lineup, third-year linebacker Torrance Marshall started and put up some numbers.

Marshall was second on the team with eight tackles (seven solo) and had a sack and a pass defensed.

He split some of the time with Lenon. Packer defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said that was the team’s plan going into the game because both Lenon and Marshall are regulars on special teams.

But Lenon suffered his injury on a kickoff return in the third quarter and did not return, meaning Marshall went the rest of the way at middle linebacker.

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