INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indianapolis Colts might have lost
linebacker Cornelius Bennett for the playoffs with a torn ligament in his
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
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
``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
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.'
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