Vick has 'mild sprain,' should start Sunday
By STEVE WYCHE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 10/04/05
Falcons quarterback Michael Vick should start against New England this weekend after an MRI exam Sunday night showed no further damage than a "mild sprain" of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee, coach Jim Mora said Monday.
"That ought to put that to rest," Mora said. "I'd expect there's a good chance he'll be ready to roll."
Vick was unavailable for comment Monday but said after Sunday's victory that he expected to play against the defending Super Bowl champions.
Vick was injured midway through the second quarter of Sunday's 30-10 victory over Minnesota when Vikings rookie defensive end Erasmus James tackled Vick after he misfired on a pass to tight end Alge Crumpler. Although Vick said he could have re-entered the game, he agreed with the coaching and medical staffs to let backup Matt Schaub finish the final 2 1/2 quarters of Atlanta's third victory in four games.
Mora did not say if or how much Vick would practice this week but said he would not be surprised if Vick tried to practice Wednesday, the team's first workout this week. Falcons players watched film, lifted weights and conditioned Monday, but Vick was not believed to have participated in any physical activity. Players are off on Tuesday.
"Whether he does or doesn't [practice] doesn't change our focus as a football team," Mora said. "I understand he's Mike Vick, and I understand the public wants to know [how] he is and our fans want to know [how] he is, but inside here, in our locker room, in our meeting rooms, it's not about that. Everyone is getting ready to play the best they can against New England."
This is the second time this season Vick has injured a leg during a game. He pulled his left hamstring late in a 21-18 loss to Seattle in Week 2 and was replaced twice by Schaub. Vick did not practice the following Wednesday but took part in all workouts the remainder of that week and started in a 24-16 victory at Buffalo.
Vick, who completed 15 of 27 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns, played one of his most well-rounded games against the Bills, remaining in the pocket more in passing situations because he did not want to put any extra strain on the hamstring by running. However, he made some big plays scrambling (nine carries, 64 yards), which could have helped his gain assuredness in his durability.
Mora said that performance could help Vick this weekend.
"That unknown, 'Am I going to be able to be effective if I'm not 100 percent?' because he wasn't 100 percent at Buffalo, that will help him," Mora said. "It will give him confidence that he can function in many different ways."
The Falcons did not suffer any other injuries, Mora said. Split end Dez White is nearly recovered from a hamstring strain that has sidelined him the past two weeks and if he is healthy enough to play, he will regain his starting job from Brian Finneran, the team's leading receiver. Though White has just one catch this season, his blocking is a key reason that he is a starter, Mora has said, adding that Finneran gets plenty of opportunity whether he starts or not.
"You don't lose your job a round here because of an injury," Mora said.