- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2008

From combined dispatches

The New England Patriots have come back from injuries before, winning three Super Bowls and reaching a fourth despite losing Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour, Junior Seau and Drew Bledsoe.

Now they will try to do it without Tom Brady.

The 2007 NFL MVP will miss the entire 2008 season with a left knee injury that needs surgery, the team said Monday. That leaves the Patriots without one of the game’s great quarterbacks and severely damages their hopes of a return trip to the Super Bowl.

Coach Bill Belichick would not say what the injury is, but the play, Brady’s reaction and the prognosis all point toward a torn ACL.

“As a team we all just have to do our jobs. That really doesn’t change,” Belichick said Monday, a day after Brady’s knee collapsed under him when he was hit by Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard in a 17-10 victory over Kansas City. “He played one position. He played it very well. We have somebody else playing that position now.”

The Patriots issued a one-paragraph statement that the two-time Super Bowl MVP will have surgery and be placed on injured reserve. That leaves them in the hands of a backup who barely has been tested - in part because of Brady’s 128-game starting streak that was the third longest for a quarterback in NFL history.

Matt Cassel, who guided New England to its 20th consecutive regular-season victory after Brady was hurt, will start Sunday at the New York Jets. It will be the first meaningful start since high school for Cassel, who backed up Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at Southern Cal and spent the last three years holding a clipboard for Brady.

TITANS: No exact diagnosis on Vince Young’s sprained left knee was available from the team Monday.

Coach Jeff Fisher said X-rays were negative but that it was hard to predict how the injury would affect Young. Fisher said if the injury is a third-degree medial collateral ligament sprain, Young could be out a couple of weeks. But he reiterated the Titans don’t know yet.

CHARGERS: Although LaDainian Tomlinson’s jammed right big toe was wrapped Monday, fantasy geeks worldwide apparently have nothing to fear.

Tomlinson jammed his toe when a Panthers player landed on the back of his leg during the Chargers’ final drive. The two-time defending NFL rushing champion, Tomlinson said he thinks it’s too early to tell whether the injury will affect him.

JAGUARS: Already thin along the offensive line after the shooting of backup tackle Richard Collier, Jacksonville lost two starters in its opening loss at Tennessee.

Guard Vince Manuwai is out for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee, and guard Maurice Williams could be sidelined at least two months after rupturing his right biceps. Coach Jack Del Rio hasn’t decided whether to place Williams on injured reserve.

SEAHAWKS: Wide receiver Nate Burleson is out for the season with a knee injury. Burleson tore the ACL in his left knee while trying to cut outside on a pass pattern on a rain-slicked field in Buffalo on Sunday during Seattle’s 34-10 loss in its season opener.

RAMS: Wide receiver Drew Bennett fractured his left foot in the first series of Sunday’s opener at Philadelphia and will be sidelined at least a month.

Coach Scott Linehan said the team probably would sign a replacement this week but didn’t think Bennett, who could miss as many as six weeks, would be placed on injured reserve.

BUCCANEERS: Quarterback Jeff Garcia sprained an ankle during the team’s season-opening loss at New Orleans and is questionable for this week’s home game against Atlanta.

Coach Jon Gruden did not specify which ankle was injured but said the four-time Pro Bowl selection apparently was hurt late in the game and had some swelling.

COWBOYS: Dallas signed Brooks Bollinger, giving the team a third-string quarterback it lacked all last season. Bollinger was released by Minnesota during the final cuts of the preseason.

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