Sufferin' Saints: Bush sidelined; Shockey says he's hurt; punter cut

Updated: October 21, 2008, 1:09 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- On a day the New Orleans Saints would rather forget, the team learned that running back Reggie Bush has a knee injury that could sideline him for several weeks.

Bush injured the meniscus in his left knee on a punt return late in the first half of Sunday's 30-7 loss to Carolina. He reversed field on his run, which ended when he stepped out of bounds on the Carolina sideline. He seemed to pull up a bit and favor his left leg after that.

"The plan is to scope it. We'll have this week and then the bye week and we'll see where he's at," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "I'll probably know something [Monday]. Right now, we're going to have to evaluate it and go from there."

Bush's surgery was performed Monday by Dr. James Andrews, a source told ESPN's Michael Smith. Saints spokesman Greg Bensel confirmed Tuesday that the surgery had taken place, but gave no other details.

Lethal Weapon No. 25

If Reggie Bush is lost for a significant period, the Saints would lose their leader in rushing, punt return yards and touchdowns (he's also second in receiving yards). How his totals in those categories stack up against the team's totals:

Reggie's 2008 season
    Pct. of team
Rushing yds 294 45.9
Receiving yds 366 16.5
Punt return yds 285 93.1
Touchdowns 8 36.4

The Saints' bad news did not end with Bush. Tight end Jeremy Shockey lashed out after his return to the lineup from a sports hernia, questioning how the team has handled his injury, then adding he was unsure if he'll play next week in London.

Immediately following their blowout loss to the Panthers, the Saints cut punter Steve Weatherford.

Bush had 55 yards on nine carries, caught one pass for 5 yards, and had a 3.5 average on three punt returns against Carolina. Payton said the Saints became "one-dimensional" after Bush left the game.

But quarterback Drew Brees noted the Saints played the final four games of last season without Bush -- they went 2-2 while he was out with a knee injury -- and proved this year they could persevere when Shockey and receiver Marques Colston missed games.

Bush punt return TD

NFL.com Video

Jo-Lonn Dunbar decleats Erin Henderson and frees Reggie Bush for a 71-yd punt return TD.

"Of course it's tough. He's a big-time playmaker," Brees said. "We're going to miss him, and I hope he's not out very long."

Shockey led the team with five catches for 50 yards, but that wasn't enough to ease his mind. The four-time Pro Bowl tight end, who had missed the past three games after surgery, practiced last week and was cleared to play. But on the first play Sunday, Shockey said he "did the splits" and felt pain.

"I feel a spot in my leg that wasn't there before," said Shockey, who indicated he was hopeful he only dug up scar tissue and did not suffer more damage.

Shockey said he may have come back too soon from the surgery, and also indicated the Saints erred by misdiagnosing him in training camp.

"I'm worried that this thing could have been taken care of in camp, like it should have been," said Shockey, whom the Saints acquired from the New York Giants in July for two draft picks. "If it wasn't misdiagnosed in camp like it was there'd have been no problems. ... Next time I know. When I get hurt I'll get three or four opinions besides just the team's."

Shockey underwent surgery four weeks ago, and had practiced without limitation the week before facing the Panthers. In contrast, Philadelphia Eagles receiver Kevin Curtis had hernia surgery in August and has yet to play this season.

"It's not a three-to-six-week recovery time," said Shockey, who alluded to Curtis. "It's really a five-to-seven-week."

Shockey said he would know more about his status Monday.

"I want to help this team win that brought me here," Shockey said. "I'm just disappointed in myself. I'm making plays and everything, but I'm just not healthy."

Weatherford was released after the game after a terrible outing against the Panthers. His gross average of 35.4 yards and net average of 30.2 left him out of the team's plans.

That means the Saints will have to sign a punter this week while they're in London.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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