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Colts To Go Without Bennett

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Colts To Go Without Bennett

Colts To Go Without Bennett

January 07, 2000
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indianapolis Colts might have lost linebacker Cornelius Bennett for the playoffs with a torn ligament in his left knee.

Bennett, the only person to play on five losing teams in the Super Bowl, tore a ligament in the knee when he was blocked Sunday by Buffalo's Antowain Smith on the Bills' first offensive play.

``It doesn't look like Cornelius Bennett will be available for any more playing time this year,' coach Jim Mora said Monday. ``His knee injury was rather serious. ... This certainly will be a big blow to our football team and our defense. Not only is he a good football player, but he's been a very strong influence in the locker room, as a leader and an example-setter.'

Mora said Bennett, who started all 16 games for the AFC East champions this season, tore his medial collateral ligament and possibly tore his posterior cruciate ligament.

Mora was uncertain if the injury could mean the end of the 13-year veteran's career.

``It's too early to tell,' he said.

The Colts have a first-round bye and will be at home for the AFC semifinals against either Seattle, Buffalo or Tennessee next weekend. Mora is giving the team four days off this week before starting serious preparations next week -- when he'll learn who the Colts will face in their first playoff game in the RCA Dome.

``Hopefully, he can be around and continue to help us from a leadership standpoint. As far as him being on the field, I don't think that's going to happen,' Mora said of Bennett, who has more playoff experience than any other member of the team and led the Colts in tackles this season.

Mora was uncertain who would start in place of Bennett, but said Bertrand Berry is the likely choice.

``He went into the game yesterday (Sunday), and did a pretty good job. Whoever it is, it is still going to be a loss, not having Cornelius,' Mora said.

The news was brighter for defensive tackle Ellis Johnson, who also missed much of Sunday game with an injury. ``He sustained a deep bruise right here,' Mora said, pointing to an area near the knee. ``They thought initially it was a calf strain. After undergoing an MRI, they decided it was a deep bruise to both the muscle tissue and the bone. He probably won't do much work this week ... Hopefully, he'll be ready for some work next week and the game.'

Image courtesy of PicturesNow.com

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