- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress said linebacker E.J. Henderson is in “good spirits” after having surgery on his broken left leg.

Henderson stayed in intensive care at a Phoenix-area hospital while the rest of his teammates went home Sunday night after a 30-17 loss to the Cardinals.

Childress said Monday the surgery went well. But the coach was not ready to say when, if ever, the former Maryland linebacker would be able to return to the field. The gruesome nature of the injury shook up Henderson’s teammates. Some of them were near tears in the locker room after the game.

The loss of Henderson overshadowed a disappointing performance by the Vikings, who were dominated in every aspect of the game to fall to 10-2 on the season.

STEELERS: Wide receiver Hines Ward strained a hamstring near the end of Pittsburgh’s 27-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders and is expected to miss Thursday night’s game in Cleveland.

Coach Mike Tomlin said that with a short week of preparation, Ward is “very questionable.” Ward leads the Steelers (6-6) with 72 catches and six touchdowns and is 78 yards away from his sixth career 1,000-yard season.

Safety Troy Polamalu hasn’t resumed practicing and is expected to miss a fourth consecutive game - and his eighth this season - with a left knee injury. Cornerback William Gay also may not play because of a concussion.

JETS: Mark Sanchez did not practice Monday while recovering from a sprained right knee, but coach Rex Ryan is optimistic about the rookie quarterback’s chances of playing Sunday at Tampa Bay.

Sanchez sprained the posterior cruciate ligament in the knee while diving for a first down in New York’s 19-13 win over Buffalo on Thursday night.

“He’s so much better,” Ryan said. “We thought we were going to get good news from the MRI. We did. Just the way he’s approaching his treatment and rehab and everything else, you can tell he is definitely willing.”

SUPER BOWL: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Land Shark Stadium needs more upgrades if Miami is to remain competitive in bidding for future Super Bowls.

The 22-year-old stadium underwent $250 million in improvements in 2007 but is still falling behind the competition with new stadiums opening in Dallas, Phoenix, Indianapolis and the New York area, Goodell said.

JAGUARS: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist thinks Tim Tebow could be the answer to Jacksonville’s attendance problems.

Crist said he has talked with the Jaguars ownership about taking the celebrated Florida quarterback in April’s NFL Draft as a means to sell more season tickets and keep the team from moving out of Jacksonville.

RAMS: Safety O.J. Atogwe could miss the rest of the season with a dislocated right shoulder that eventually will require surgery.

BENGALS: Defensive tackle Domata Peko had arthroscopic knee surgery, sidelining one of Cincinnati’s best run stoppers for at least a couple of weeks.

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