Running back tears patella tendon

Originally Published: September 27, 2004
Associated Press

Tampa Bay running back Charlie Garner is lost for the season after tearing the patella tendon in his right knee, another blow to an already injury-riddled offense.

Charlie Garner
Running Back
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rush Yds TD Rec Yds TD
24 100 0 7 28 0

The 11th-year running back was carted off the field during the second quarter of Sunday night's 30-20 loss at Oakland, a defeat that dropped the Bucs to 0-3 for the first time since 1996.

Garner, who signed with the Bucs after having offseason surgery on his left knee, slipped as he made a cut and appeared to twist his right leg. A teammate and a Raider also tripped over him.

Michael Pittman, who sat out Tampa Bay's first three games after being suspended by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy, will replace Garner.

"We're anxious to get him going again," coach Jon Gruden said Monday. "We had obviously looked forward to working him and Charlie in the same backfield together, but unfortunately that won't be the case this year. But Pittman's a guy who we think is a fine football player, and we'll have to lean on him at this time."

Garner, 32, was one of the most productive players in the league the past five seasons, averaging nearly 100 yards total offense per game to rank sixth with 7,812 yards. He was limited to nine starts last season by a nagging knee problem and was slowed during training camp this summer by a sore hamstring.

Garner gained 11 yards on six carries against the Raiders, his old team. He finished the season with 111 yards on 30 carries.

The Bucs also lost tight end Rickey Dudley with a broken right thumb that will require surgery. Gruden said he will be out "a long period of time."

Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon has a broken vertebrae in his neck that will sideline him at least six weeks.

Gannon had an MRI exam Monday morning and was taken for further tests. Coach Norv Turner didn't believe Gannon was at risk for paralysis and said Gannon was walking around the team's training facility before receiving the news about his neck.

"He will be out an extended period. A six-weeks deal, or maybe longer," Turner said. "It's disappointing."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press