NFL feels impact of injuries

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Injuries were the item of the day during the opening weekend of the NFL season.

Saints fans had a quick glimpse at the vast potential Ricky Williams possesses Sunday afternoon. The first round draft choice rushed for 40 yards on ten carries in the first quarter.

On the final Saints possession, Williams made a quick run around right end. Carolina defensive back, Eric Davis made the shoestring tackle and rolled over William’s left ankle. Williams quickly hopped to the sidelines. Although he would try to play in the second quarter, Williams was done for the day.

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While most fear the worst, the word from the Saints is that Williams injury isn’t that bad. The Saints could let Williams sit out the game against the 49ers Sunday. This would give him two weeks of rest since they have an off week.

Let’s face it, the 49ers were embarrassed 41-3 yesterday by Jacksonville. They will be out for blood next week when they host the Saints. The 49ers usually don’t lose twice in a roll. The Saints will run into a angry buzz saw in San Francisco.

Better to heal all the way instead of risking a career ending injury on a franchise player. Such things can happen rather quickly. Remember the freak injury to Bo Jackson. He was never the same and eventually had to retire.

The New York Jets lost quarterback, Vinny Testaverde, for the season. Testaverde ruptured his Achilles’ tendon during the game against New England.

Just on that injury alone, the Jets have changed from a team with the potential to win the conference and go to the Super Bowl to a team that might struggle to make the playoffs as a wildcard candidate.

Another injury of note was to Green Bay quarterback, Brett Favre.

The former USM star collided his valuable right hand with the helmet of Russell Maryland of the Raiders injuring his thumb. This is the same thumb that he sprained earlier in the preseason.

The gritty quarterback played even though he didn’t have feeling in his hand for the remainder of the game. By sheer will, Favre lead the Packers from a 10-point deficit to a last second Green Bay win.

Favre threw four touchdowns in the victory. The impressive thing about the passes were that they had the usual Favre zing. One would expect a quarterback with an injured throwing hand to throw wobbly balls instead of tight spirals.

The drive of the game was the final drive. Favre moved the Packers from their 18-yard line for the winning touchdown. He tossed the scoring pass with eleven seconds left to play.

After the game, a happy but exhausted Favre feeling the pain of his injury broke down and wept while talking to the media.

One has to respect the guts and determination of an athlete like Brett Favre. His determination is what sets him apart from the other athletes.

The good news of the day is that Williams and Favre aren’t injured severe enough to miss a number of games.

If Favre can draw a breath, he will play Sunday. Favre has started 110 straight games for the Packers and is six starts away from matching Ron Jaworski’s record for a quarterback.

Favre has replaced Mike Holmgren as the emotional leader of the team. This renewed importance adds another chapter to a storybook career.

Call me an old softy but tears from the Packer great brought tears to my eyes.

As a fan and journalist who has covered Favre from high school to the Super Bowl, I wish him a speedy recovery.

Tim Isbell is creative director at the Democrat.

He can be reached at 446-5172 ext. 233 or at