Monday, October 6, 2003
Emmitt's left shoulder blade broken
TEMPE, Ariz. -- NFL career rushing leader Emmitt Smith has a
broken left shoulder blade and will be sidelined indefinitely.
The injury occurred early in the second quarter of Arizona's
24-7 loss to Dallas on Sunday in Smith's first game against the
team he played his first 13 seasons with and helped lead to three
Super Bowl victories.
Coach Dave McGinnis said X-rays taken Monday revealed the injury
was more serious than originally thought. After the game, the
Cardinals said Smith had only a sprained shoulder.
Team orthopedist Russell Chick found the break to the scapula in
the back of Smith's shoulder after a more thorough examination.
"If it was just a bruised shoulder, believe me, Emmitt Smith
would have come back out of that locker room," McGinnis said.
Smith was unavailable Monday, reporting to Arizona's training
facility for treatment. He left before the team meetings ended
without speaking to reporters.
McGinnis acknowledged Smith would be out for at least a few
weeks, but doubted his season was over.
"I'm not going to put a time frame on it because I've not been
given a time frame on it," McGinnis said.
On his final play, Smith went between the guard and tackle on
the left side. Safety Roy Williams arrived in the hole when Smith
did and tackled the former Cowboy, causing the injury.
The injury is sure to sideline Smith longer than anything in his
experience: He's missed just four games because of being hurt,
including the Cowboys' finale in 1994, when he was deemed fit to
play but rested a strained hamstring instead.
"A starting running back, you definitely hate to see him go
down," left tackle L.J. Shelton said. "There are a lot of things
he brings to this team."
Smith lost 1 yard on six carries and caught two passes for 2
yards against the Cowboys, spoiling his debut against his former
team. The eight-time Pro Bowler broke Walter Payton's career
rushing record last season, and has 17,354 in his career.
He has just 192 yards and one touchdown in five games with the
During warmups Sunday, Cowboys fans cheered Smith and held signs
welcoming him back to Dallas. Smith wept during postgame
interviews, a sign of his disappointment at being held without
positive yardage for the first time.
"I know he handled it with extreme professionalism, handled the
whole situation with extreme grace," McGinnis said.
Marcel Shipp, who led the Cardinals in rushing with 834 yards
last season and was tabbed as the starter until Smith signed with
the Cardinals in March, will start at running back.
His backups are Damien Anderson and special teams star Josh
Scobey, who had a 100-yard kickoff return against St. Louis on
Sept. 28 and a 63-yard kickoff return Sunday.
"Hopefully our running game will work -- we can make it work --
enough so that I have to run all three of them," McGinnis said.
"But so far, we've had trouble getting enough carries to one
Shelton thinks Shipp will provide an offensive spark.
"I can't imagine being out that long and hopping right back
into a starting position, but I think if anybody can do it, Marcel
can," Shelton said.