Knee Injury May Sideline Saints RB Bush

Friday, December 7th 2007, 4:40 pm
By: News On 6

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Reggie Bush has a partially torn left knee ligament that likely won't require surgery but could sideline him for Monday night's game at Atlanta and possibly for the rest of the season. A person familiar with the injury told The Associated Press that Bush did not expect to play Monday night and likely would not risk further aggravating the injury by playing again this season. The person requested anonymity because of the delicacy of the situation.

Saints coach Sean Payton said Bush would be listed as questionable on the injury report and added whether Bush plays against the Falcons will be a game-time decision.

``We'll monitor where he's at,'' Payton said after Friday's practice, which Bush sat out. ``I'm still hopeful for this weekend's game based on how he practiced yesterday.''

Payton said it was ``a little premature,'' to predict Bush would miss the rest of the season.

Bush practiced Thursday and did not indicate he was having any trouble when he spoke to reporters after practice. He became sore that evening, and the team ordered a MRI, which indicated a tear in his posterior cruciate ligament.

Bush had another MRI on Friday. It didn't show a need for surgery but did show an injury serious enough to limit Bush beyond Monday night's game, the person said.

Payton said Bush's left knee has bothered him for a couple weeks, but it seemed the injury got worse after the Saints' game last Sunday.

Bush took over as the Saints' featured running back after Deuce McAllister's season-ending knee injury in Week 3.

Bush has scored six touchdowns with 581 yards rushing and 417 yards receiving. His longest run so far has been 22 yards and his longest reception 25. He has 10 dropped passes and has fumbled eight times, though his team has recovered all but three of those.

If Bush is out, the Saints' active running backs will be Aaron Stecker, Jamaal Branch and rookie Pierre Thomas, who returned to practice Friday from a kidney bruise.

The timing of the injury is unfortunate for the Saints (5-7), who still hold slim hopes of a wild card spot in the mediocre NFC. They trail Minnesota, Arizona and Detroit by a single game and Washington, who won Thursday night, by half a game.