WR struggling with post-concussion effects

Updated: November 12, 2003, 10:22 PM ET
Associated Press

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Wayne Chrebet's latest head injury has ended his season.

The New York Jets placed the veteran receiver on injured reserve Wednesday with a mild form of post-concussion syndrome, which he developed after sustaining a concussion against the New York Giants on Nov. 2.

Chrebet was hurt in the third quarter when Omar Stoutmire delivered a blow to the back of his head, causing Chrebet to briefly lose consciousness. But Dr. Elliot Pellman, chairman of the Jets' medical department, determined Chrebet had recovered and allowed him to return to the game.

Several days later, Chrebet complained of headaches and fatigue, and did not play last Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

Pellman said the only way for Chrebet to get better is to rest. He also expects Chrebet to return to the Jets next season.

"This is about Wayne returning to the Jets as a football player," said Pellman, who also is the chairman of the NFL subcommittee on mild traumatic brain injury. "It is to prevent him from heading into that dark hole of being predisposed to post-concussion syndrome. We are giving Wayne every opportunity to get better."

This is just the latest head injury to befall Chrebet. He has sustained at least five concussions in his pro and collegiate career, and earlier this season had a post-traumatic migraine. He also had a post-traumatic migraine in 2001.

Pellman is being cautious, but does not consider the injury career-threatening.

"I am fairly confident that Wayne will play again next year," Pellman said. "What I cannot predict is whether he will suffer another injury like this."

Pellman defended his decision to allow Chrebet to return to the game against the Giants.

"The decision about Wayne returning to play was based on scientific evaluation and medical evaluation. That evaluation and that decision made no difference as to what's happening today," Pellman said.

Chrebet was not available for comment. But his agent, Art Weiss, said Chrebet was disappointed he would miss the season.

"I'm not the least bit concerned long-term about Wayne, not at all," Weiss said. "I can tell you that it makes good sense to give him this time off so we can allow him the maximum time to recover and continue his career."

The latest problems started in October. Chrebet, 30, hurt his back against Buffalo, but he complained of migraines, blurry vision and light sensitivity. It was determined that the force of the hit triggered a post-traumatic migraine. Chrebet did not play the following week against Houston because of his sore back.

He had similar problems in 2001. He took a helmet-to-helmet hit against Miami and sustained a concussion, but played the following week against the Rams.

In that game, he took another hit to the helmet. Chrebet had post-traumatic migraines -- not a concussion. He also sustained a concussion during training camp in 2000 and had at least two while playing for Hofstra.

The Jets now have serious problems at receiver. Santana Moss is emerging, but free-agent acquisition Curtis Conway has flopped. Reserve Jonathan Carter could see more playing time, and general manager Terry Bradway said the Jets would have another receiver signed by Thursday.

They did put in a bid for Kevin Johnson, but the Jaguars got him instead.

Chrebet ends the season with 27 catches for 289 yards and a touchdown.

"I expect Wayne will return next season and return better than ever," Bradway said. "We'll have to get somebody in here not to replace Wayne, but it's a little bit of a blow because he's one of our top three guys right now that we were depending on."

The Jets also could have their starting secondary back against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Cornerback Donnie Abraham and safety Jon McGraw were upgraded to questionable Wednesday. Cornerback Ray Mickens also was upgraded from questionable to probable after injuring his neck against the Raiders last week.

Abraham has missed seven games after breaking his right shoulder in September, and McGraw has missed four games with a partially dislocated right shoulder. All three practiced Wednesday.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press