Tuesday, October 7, 2003
McGahee close to returning after passing physical
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Bills rookie Willis McGahee passed a
physical on his injured left knee Tuesday, one of the final steps
that would allow the running back to begin practicing as early as
John Uribe conducted the physical in Miami. Uribe is the
University of Miami team physician who surgically repaired the
three torn ligaments McGahee sustained during the Hurricanes' loss
to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl last January.
"He's ready to play," Uribe said. "He's worked pretty hard to
get back to where he is and the fact that his biology cooperated is
pretty amazing. He looks very good."
McGahee's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was excited by the findings,
and said the results all but clear the way for his client to begin
"It was a successful visit and he's on his path to an amazing
recovery," Rosenhaus said. "There doesn't appear to be any reason
not to go ahead."
Rosenhaus said the Bills approved McGahee's exam in Miami, and
that Uribe was passing along the results to the team's training
The final step for McGahee's return is getting clearance from
Bills team doctor John Marzo.
Bills president Tom Donahoe declined to comment on the test
"We will offer a comment when Willis has been cleared by our
doctors for practice," Donahoe said.
The findings back up the results of the Bills' most recent
tests, which showed McGahee's injured knee to be between 90 and 92
Uribe said the most important measure was comparing the strength
in McGahee's injured leg to his healthy one.
"I would like to see more mass in his (injured) leg, but it was
pretty close to normal," Uribe said. "His strength certainly
measured proportional to his other knee. He's not going to be in
any danger because of that, so it's OK for him to play."
McGahee, selected 23rd overall, opened the season on the reserve
nonfootball injury list. The earliest he could take the field is
next week, after the Bills (3-2) travel to play the Jets on Sunday.
NFL rules bar a player on the injured list from practicing until
between Week 6 and 9. Once McGahee begins practicing, the Bills
would have three weeks to determine whether to place him on the
Because of his long rehabilitation, McGahee is expected to
require at least two weeks of practice before the Bills would
consider using him in a game.
McGahee has spent the last two months working out on his own
while being limited to watching practice from the sideline. The
most he has been allowed to do is catch passes in a stationary
Last August, he signed a five-year contract that could
potentially be worth $15.53 million. The deal is laden with
incentives that more than double a base contract worth just over $7
million, including bonuses.
McGahee's presence could spark a running back competition in
Buffalo. Returning starter Travis Henry was initially unhappy --
calling it "a slap in the face" -- the day McGahee was drafted.
Henry, who finished fifth in the NFL last season with 1,438
yards rushing, has since said he is open to competing with McGahee,
who set school records with 1,753 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns
Rosenhaus said his client is eager to show what he can do.
"He looks like he's closing in on getting back on the football
field, which is going to be a remarkable accomplishment,"
Rosenhaus said. "We'll pop the champagne when he breaks that first
AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Miami contributed to this story.