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Carswell suffers internal organ damage in crash

AURORA, Colo. -- Denver Broncos offensive lineman Dwayne Carswell was in critical but stable condition with an excellent
prognosis Thursday after he was involved in an accident while on his way to team
headquarters.

The 12-year veteran, known by his teammates as "House,"
fractured multiple ribs, ruptured his diaphragm and spleen and
sustained internal injuries.

He was in intensive care at a suburban Denver hospital after a
five-hour operation to remove his spleen and repair internal organ
damage. Coach Mike Shanahan said the operation "went as well as it
could possibly go," but dismissed any thought of Carswell playing
again any time soon.

"He won't return this season," Shanahan said. "It is very
serious, what he went through. Now, it's worrying about recovery
and hopefully, not having a lot of pain."

Shanahan and trainer Steve Antonopulos addressed the team about
Carswell's situation in meetings not long after the morning
accident. After the team warmed up at the start of practice, the
players broke their huddle by shouting, "House!"

"You just pray for the best. That's all you can do now,"
offensive lineman George Foster said. "Football is secondary."

Officer Tony Guzman said Carswell was in one of three cars
traveling south on a busy, eight-lane thoroughfare that passes
close to Broncos headquarters in suburban Denver -- when two
northbound cars collided and veered into the southbound lanes.
Several cars were extensively damaged. A woman whose name wasn't
released was treated and released from the hospital.

"In no shape or form was [Carswell] the one that caused the
accident," Guzman said.

Both doors and much of the front and rear fenders on the
driver's side of Carswell's car, a 1994 Chevrolet sedan, were torn
off and crumpled.

The 33-year-old Carswell played tight end during his first 11
seasons, all in Denver. This year, he was moved to the offensive
line, though the Broncos have used him in tackle-eligible
situations several times. Last month, playing in his home town of
Jacksonville, he caught two touchdown passes.

"He probably has the best hands catching the ball on this
team," linebacker Al Wilson said. "He is a veteran guy that
players look up to and seems to produce week in, week out."

Shanahan said Carswell wouldn't be allowed to see visitors until
Friday at the earliest.

The Broncos will probably place Carswell on their
non-football-related injury list in the next week, which would free
up a roster spot for an offensive line that doesn't have much
depth.

Wilson and several others said football matters were the least
of their concerns when it came to their teammate. They said they
would try not to make Carswell's precarious situation a distraction
heading into Sunday's home game against Philadelphia, but conceded
that would be difficult.

"The point is, somebody else is in need and in a grave
condition," fullback Kyle Johnson said. "You want to focus on
that and make sure that the person gets the attention that he
needs."