Fullback aggravates shoulder injury

Originally Published: September 10, 2004
ESPN.com news services

Houston Texans: Starting fullback Moran Norris aggravated a shoulder injury and was listed as questionable Friday for the season opener against the Chargers.

Norris hurt his left shoulder in practice Thursday, and coaches believe he's 50-50 for Sunday's opener.

If Norris can't play, backup Jarrod Baxter will start.

Baxter missed all of last season because of a foot injury. Reserve tailback Jonathan Wells is the emergency fullback.

Norris was the only Texans player listed on the injury report Friday.

San Diego Chargers: Wide receiver Tim Dwight is expected to miss Sunday's opener at Houston because of a hamstring injury.

Dwight missed his third straight practice Friday. The Chargers will start Eric Parker and Reche Caldwell at wideout.

Dwight missed seven games last season, six due to a partially collapsed lung and one with a knee injury. He also missed six games in 2001 with a collapsed lung.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Linebacker Kendrell Bell is still questionable for Sunday's season opener against the Oakland Raiders, but now it's his groin -- not an ailing shoulder -- that's officially to blame.

Bell dressed in shoulder pads for Thursday's practice but didn't participate. He was replaced by Larry Foote, who will play in Sunday's game at Heinz Field if Bell still can't.

Neither Bell nor coach Bill Cowher spoke about the injury Thursday. Bell missed most of the team's spring minicamps with a groin injury.

Oakland Raiders: Rich Gannon's ability to get through the signing of Kerry Collins and reclaim his role as starting quarterback might be thanks in part to his willingness to restructure his contract.

Earlier this week, Gannon agreed to a new contract that converts $2.5 million of his $7 million base salary to playing time and performance incentives that the San Francisco Chronicle reports he is unlikely to reach.

Gannon is the only quarterback in Raiders history to pass for more than 3,000 yards in four consecutive seasons, but he completed only 55.6 percent of his passes for 1,274 yards last season.

New York Jets: Guard-tackle Brent Smith, who started all 16 games for the team last season, was released.

Smith, 30, was part of an offensive line that helped running back Curtis Martin rush for 1,308 yards last season. The Jets signed guard Pete Kendall during training camp, however, forcing Smith to battle for a job.

Originally a third-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 1997, the 6-5, 300-pound Smith was signed by the Jets as an unrestricted free agent in May 2003. He has played in 56 career NFL games, including 29 starts.

Denver Broncos: Mike Shanahan said he wasn't sure whether defensive tackle Luther Elliss will be available for the home opener Sunday against Kansas City.

Elliss has been held out of action since Aug. 27, when he suffered a torn pectoral muscle in a preseason game with Houston.

"It will be a game-time decision," Shanahan said. "You want to see how much he improves and how he is feeling. We will get him out there before the game and see how it loosens up."

Shanahan said the 10-year veteran took part in the team's brief workout Friday. Elliss was hustled into the training room and was not available for questions.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.

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