WR tears knee ligament in practice

HOUSTON -- In the latest catastrophe for the star-crossed Miami Dolphins, the team said late Friday night that wide receiver David Boston will miss the entire 2004 season after he suffered a knee injury earlier in the day during a practice with the Houston Texans.

The five-year veteran underwent an MRI exam of his left knee Friday evening to help determine the severity of the injury. While the Dolphins did not comment on the nature of the injury, it is believed the tests revealed a torn patella tendon.

"It is anticipated that the injury will require surgery that
will sideline him for the season," Miami coach Dave Wannstedt said in a statement
late Friday. "Further details of his condition will be available
following the conclusion of the surgery."

It is not known when surgery will be performed. Boston almost certainly will be placed on injured reserve.

Boston, who was acquired this offseason in a trade with the San Diego Chargers, was running a fade route during the "team" portion of the practice, when his left knee seemed to buckle under him. There was no contact on the play, as Boston was covered by rookie cornerback Dunta Robinson, the Texans' first-round draft choice.

Robinson said Boston planted to make a cut and then went down, screaming.

Boston, 25, was taken from the field on a cart. He was lying on a trainer's table in the Texans' complex, with a soft cast from his hip to his ankle, but declined to discuss the injury when approached by a reporter.

The Dolphins acquired the enigmatic Boston to pair with young standout receiver Chris Chambers, who on Thursday signed a five-year, $30 million contract extension. The loss of Boston, preceded by the sudden retirement of tailback Ricky Williams last week, now further weakens an already suspect Dolphins offense.

Miami was having a problem locating a player for the No. 3 wideout spot. Now the club will be forced to come up with a starter. One player in whom Miami might be interested is veteran Keenan McCardell, who has not reported to the Tampa Bay Bucs' training camp because of a contract dispute.

Before the injury to Boston, team officials said Friday they were not interested in free agent Tim Brown, who was released by the Oakland Raiders on Thursday. Of course, the loss of Boston for the year could alter that.

The first-round pick of Arizona in 1999, Boston played four seasons for the Cardinals before signing with the Chargers as a free agent in 2003. He had an uneven season on and off the field in San Diego and the Chargers gave up on him after just one season.

For his career, Boston has 311 catches for 4,619 yards and 25 toucdowns. He has played in 70 games and started 61 of them.

The Dolphins acquired Boston on March 18 for former first-round cornerback Jamar Fletcher and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2005 draft.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.