Source: Burress tells Giants he shot himself in leg by accident

Updated: November 30, 2008, 9:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress has told the team that he accidentally shot himself Friday night, a league official told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio.

Burress was treated and released from New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. He was there overnight and was released at 2 p.m. Saturday, the Giants said. A team official told The Associated Press that Burress shot himself in a nightclub.

New York City police say they are investigating whether the incident took place at Latin Quarter, a sprawling 15,000-square-foot restaurant and club in midtown Manhattan.

A league official told Paolantonio that the bullet went through the skin and muscle tissue of Burress' right thigh and did not hit any major arteries, and that there were no broken bones.

The Giants said in a statement Saturday afternoon that Burress suffered a wound to his right thigh. The team did not specify in its statement how the shooting occured.

"We are aware of the fact that Plaxico was involved in an apparent accidental shooting last night. We have been in contact with Plaxico since shortly after the incident," the team said in a statement. "Obviously, our primary concern is for Plaxico's health and well-being, and given the circumstances, we are relieved to say he was released from a New York City hospital at approximately 2 p.m. today.

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"We have been in touch with NFL Security on this matter. At this point, we are attempting to gather all the facts surrounding this incident. This incident could become a matter for law enforcement officials, and because of that, we have no comment on any of the details."

Police told ESPN's Jeremy Schaap that Burress was with Giants teammate Antonio Pierce when the shooting occurred. Pierce, who is now with the team in Washington, D.C., for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins, is cooperating and has spoken to police by phone. Director of NFL security Milt Ahlerich also is in Washington to investigate.

A source told Paolantonio that Pierce will start Sunday.

New York and local police went to Burress' New Jersey home Saturday to speak with the receiver but were denied entrance.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin told Paolantonio: "We have people on the scene trying to gather information, get all the facts, determine exactly what happened. Right now, we're concerned about Plaxico and finding out all the details."

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According to a team official, no determination about Burress' roster status will be made until the facts are gathered. That may not be until sometime next week or until "the police investigation has been fully realized and completed," Paolantonio reported.

According to police, Burress could face criminal charges if he is not licensed to carry a concealed weapon in New York.

Burress, who was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Redskins because of a hamstring injury, was not at team meetings and did not attend the team's Saturday walkthrough.

ESPN medical analyst Dr. Michael Kaplan said the gunshot wound inflicted by Burress, at short range with soft tissue damage, can cause bleeding and swelling. But because there was no artery, nerve or bone involvement, and assuming there is no tissue death or infection, Burress probably can return to the Giants' lineup in two to four weeks.

Phone calls to Burress' home and to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, were not immediately returned, The Associated Press reported.

"We are gathering information, just like everyone else," NFL spokesman Joe Browne said.

In late September, Burress was suspended one game and fined $117,500 for a violation of team rules, reportedly for failing to appear at a team meeting and failing to notify the team of his absence. At the time, Rosenhaus said that Burress was tending to urgent family matters.

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He also was fined $45,000 by the NFL for his conduct during a game against the 49ers in October, when he abused an official and tossed a ball into the stands.

Burress signed a five-year, $35 million contract this fall after helping the Giants win a Super Bowl championship last season.

The signing came after an unsettling offseason, during which Burress was fined $25,000 for refusing to practice at a mandatory minicamp in June. He also missed most of training camp at the University at Albany with a sprained ankle. He had insisted the injury -- not his contract -- kept him off the field.

Despite his lack of practice time, Burress started in the Giants' Week 1 game against Washington and caught 10 passes for 133 yards. The following week, he had five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown in a win over St. Louis.

But Burress has not been as productive the rest of the season. The most passes he has caught in any game since then is four, in a loss to Cleveland on Oct. 13, the game that followed his suspension.

Burress has 35 catches for 454 yards and four touchdowns in a season during which he has constantly drawn double coverage. His streak of receptions in 115 consecutive games ended last week in Arizona. He aggravated his hamstring injury during the first series and did not return.

It was the sixth-longest active streak in the league, dating to Nov. 26, 2000 against Cincinnati, Burress' rookie season in Pittsburgh.

Signed as a free agent in 2005, Burress had caught a pass in all 56 previous games he had played for the Giants.

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio and Jeremy Schaap, ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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