Loss of Garner coincides with Pittman's return

Originally Published: September 29, 2004
ESPN.com news services

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Two days after receiving the official word that running back Charlie Garner tore the patellar tendon in his right knee, the Bucs on Wednesday placed him on injured reserve.

Garner twisted the knee while running to his right in the first quarter of Tampa Bay's 30-20 loss at Oakland on Sunday night. He was carted off the field and an MRI revealed the torn patellar tendon.

At least the Buccaneers will welcome back running back Michael Pittman, who was suspended by the NFL for the first three games of the season for a domestic abuse conviction last year.

Also on Wednesday, the Bucs placed tight end Rickey Dudley, who suffered a broken right thumb against Oakland, on injured reserve. In a corresponding move, Tampa Bay signed wide receiver Marcus Knight to the active roster.
-- SportsTicker

Cincinnati Bengals: Overwhelmed by the run and undermanned because of injuries, Bengals third-round draft choice Caleb Miller, primarily a strongside linebacker in college at Arkansas, will replace the injured Nate Webster in the lineup at Pittsburgh. Webster suffered a season-ending patella tendon injury in Week 3, underwent surgery earlier this week and was placed on injured reserve.

Since he was the lone pure middle linebacker on a Bengals defense that ranks next to last against the run through three games, his loss is a critical one. Miller (6-3, 225 pounds) played some in the middle during training camp and the preseason, but there are questions about his lack of size, which coach Marvin Lewis attempted to debunk on Wednesday afternoon.

"But he is very strong in the lower body and is very sudden in his lower body and in his hips," Lewis said. "Those are things a guy has to be to excel at that [middle] position."

The Bengals signed receiver Cliff Russell off their practice squad to fill his roster spot. Russell played three games for Washington last season and was waived on Aug. 31.

-- Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer

Buffalo Bills: Rookie quarterback J.P. Losman threw his first practice passes since breaking his left leg last month, and anticipates being cleared for contact within three weeks.

Losman made the announcement Wednesday, a day after he threw several passes and jogged for about 100 yards. The workout came after an X-ray showed his leg healed significantly, and less-than-expected swelling.

"It was really exciting. That's the only way to say it. I can't play it cool. It was fun," Losman said. "I'm way of ahead of schedule."

Saying he doesn't feel much pain, Losman expects to take part in seven-on-seven drills in practice next week. He added he could begin practicing fully after Buffalo's game at the Jets on Oct. 10.
-- Associated Press

Miami Dolphins: Defensive tackle Tim Bowens, who has yet to play this season, will miss Sunday's game against the New York Jets with a herniated disc in his back.

Receiver Chris Chambers didn't practice Wednesday and was listed as questionable with a previously undisclosed knee injury.

Middle linebacker Zach Thomas also sat out practice and is listed as questionable with a shoulder bruise.

"I'll be fine," Thomas said. "I'll be there on Sunday."

Third-year pro Leonard Henry is expected to make his first NFL start at running back Sunday.

Defensive tackle Larry Chester, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Sept. 19, underwent surgery. -- Associated Press

St. Louis Rams: Aeneas Williams' return to cornerback was only a one-week proposition for the Rams.

DeJuan Groce was back at practice Wednesday after missing last week's game with a sprained knee, enabling the eight-time Pro Bowler to return to free safety. Coach Mike Martz expects the move to stabilize the entire defense, which has struggled in the early weeks of the season.

"It helps us a lot," Martz said. "There's no question it helps us a great deal."

Martz said it'll be beneficial for Williams, too. Although he made his reputation as a cornerback, Williams has become comfortable at his new position after moving there last season.

New Orleans Saints: Already without key running back Deuce McAllister, the Saints may also be short a few wide receivers.

Joe Horn, Jerome Pathon and Talman Gardner are all listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Arizona. Being listed as questionable means there is a 50 percent chance a player won't play.

Gardner and Horn did not practice Wednesday. Horn is nursing a knee injury, while Gardner is rehabbing his ankle. Pathon pulled a hamstring in practice.

Head coach Jim Haslett said the team will probably go with four receivers this weekend and he doubts that LSU rookie Devery Henderson will be activated.

Cleveland Browns: Browns offensive tackle Ryan Tucker and defensive lineman Gerard Warren will both miss this Sunday's game against Washington with injuries.

Tucker is out for the second straight week with a strained quadriceps muscle he suffered in the fourth quarter of a Sept. 19 game against Dallas.

Warren sat out last week, too. He strained a chest muscle in the second quarter of the season opener against Baltimore and irritated it a week later.

The banged-up Browns are hoping to have running back Lee Suggs and tight end Steve Heiden back against the Redskins.
-- Associated Press

San Diego Chargers: Chargers backup quarterback Philip Rivers hit the index finger of his throwing hand on a helmet midway through Wednesday's practice and sat out the rest of the session.

Neither Rivers nor coach Marty Schottenheimer thought the injury was serious.

"I'm fine, it's nothing," Rivers said. "They just wanted to make sure it didn't start swelling up."

Added Schottenheimer: "He's fine."
-- Associated Press