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Damon hospitalized after outfield collision

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A frightening collision left Boston Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon hospitalized overnight.

Damon was knocked unconscious for several minutes and carried
off on a stretcher after banging heads with second baseman Damian Jackson while chasing a popup Monday night in Boston's 4-3 victory
over Oakland in the decisive fifth game of the AL Division Series.

The outfielder is officially listed as doubtful for Game 1 of the AL Championship Series against the Yankees.

Jackson said he "felt a loud bang and my ears were ringing for
a bit." He was taken away from Damon by teammates while doctors
and trainers attended to the prone outfielder.

"I wanted to see how he was doing, I wanted to hold his hand, I
wanted to go back there and tell him little boy stuff like keep
your head up," Jackson said. "It was totally scary. This guy is
lying there unconscious, this is not the way it's supposed to go
down."

Damon was on the ground for nine minutes before being taken off
the field in an ambulance. He had a "significant concussion," but
was alert and awake when he was taken to Highland Hospital, Red Sox
team doctor William Morgan said.

Damon waved with his right hand as he entered the ambulance,
which had driven onto the field. Fans responded with cheers for the
former Oakland player.

"When I got there, he was knocked out, he was breathing kind of
heavy. I guarantee you those situations are scary," right fielder
Trot Nixon said. "I said a prayer for Johnny and said the Lord was with
him. In those kinds of situations, it makes this game real small."

Nixon said the Red Sox, who flew to New York right after the
game to begin the ALCS against the Yankees on
Wednesday night, saved a bottle of champagne for Damon.

"We're going to the ALCS, but it's not quite the same without
Johnny here," Nixon said.

It was not clear when Damon will be able to rejoin the team. A
CT scan and X-rays of Damon's neck showed no damage. Morgan said
Damon was kept overnight at the hospital for observation.

Jackson also was on the ground for several minutes after the
collision on a popup by Oakland's Jermaine Dye in the seventh
inning. Jackson said after the game he was fine, except for a cut
on his right forehead.

As Jackson walked off the field and neared the dugout, several
Red Sox players had to be restrained after having words with
hecklers in the stands.

Jackson, who had entered as a defensive replacement two batters
earlier, got his glove on the ball, but it was knocked loose by the
force of the collision.

Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra picked up the ball in short center
field and threw out Dye at second base.