By Tom Keppeler, Knee1 Staff
Mike Alstott, the Tampa Buccaneers fullback otherwise known as the "A-Train," will sit out the rest of the season with a torn medial collateral ligament.
Bucs coach Tony Dungy told the Associated Press late Monday that Alstott will miss 6 to 8 weeks, but will not require surgery for the injury. "It's just going to be a matter of resting up and letting it heal," Dungy told the AP. Although the injury will sideline the fullback for the remainder of regular-season play, Alstott skirted a potentially career-ending ACL injury, which almost certainly would have required surgery. His MCL tear is a grade-3 sprain, the second-most severe of its type.
According to the AP, Alstott will remain in a cast for a week and a half, followed by as much as three weeks of wearing a brace before physical therapy begins.
Alstott took a handoff—his third of the game on Monday night—when he was tackled by a number of Bears players. Alstott had only taken two handoffs in the game for a total of three yards. He caught another pass for five yards. Prior to Sunday's appearance, he had carried the ball for 453 touchdowns and five touchdowns.
The Bucs, who have struggled this season through a 6-5 record, now will have to clamor for a playoff bid. In his absence, the focus of the rush-heavy team now turns to running back Warrick Dunn, who has carried this season for a total of 573, compared to Alstott's 456. Winning four of the next five games, which Dungy says is necessary for a playoff spot, will be difficult without the 260-pound, three-time Pro Bowl player. "We have to win this week" against Buffalo, Dungy told the AP. "That's what we have to concentrate on."
Image courtesy of Buccaneers.com.