Shots Ease Dallas QB Aikman's Pain

Thursday, October 26th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Troy Aikman avoided the needles as long as he could.

Aikman has endured pain in his lower back for more than seven years, but felt so sore and stiff on Sunday that he finally was forced to take injections on Monday — six of them.

``It's just not something I wanted to get into. It wasn't real strongly encouraged by the doctors, either,'' the Dallas Cowboys quarterback said. ``Surgery is the last resort, but prior to that the shots are.

``I wanted to try to work through it, do some rehab and stretching, things of that nature, to see if that would help alleviate some of it, and it just hasn't been able to do it.''

Aikman tested his back by working out at home Tuesday. He felt fine Wednesday and went through his first practice since receiving the medicine.

``It feels a lot better — a lot better — than what it has at any point in the last couple years,'' Aikman said. ``The stiffness is not nearly where it was and the pain has definitely diminished.''

Aikman said the only downside to the injections is that the medicine will eventually wear off, although he expects that to take several weeks.

He said he hasn't discussed an operation with doctors — and probably won't until after the season.

``It's not something that's going to go away,'' he said.

Aikman suffered a herniated disc in the lower left side of his back while lifting weights in 1993. He had an operation then to prevent serious damage, but fragments left behind have occasionally bothered him.

The pain became especially bad in recent weeks. It peaked before Sunday's 48-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

Dallas coach Dave Campo said he's not worried about Aikman's status because he knows the quarterback is monitoring it closely.

``It's not a factor to me right now unless he comes to me and says, `I think it's a problem,''' Campo said.

The back pain has been part of a rough season thus far for Aikman, who goes into Sunday's game against Jacksonville as the lowest-rated passer in the NFC and second-worst in the NFL.

Aikman was knocked out of the opener with the ninth concussion of his career and missed the next two games. He was booed upon his return as the Cowboys were beaten badly at home by San Francisco.

Two Sundays ago, he threw a career-worst five interceptions in a 19-14 loss to the New York Giants. Several passes were underthrown, which could've been caused by his achy back.

Against the Cardinals, Aikman didn't complete a pass until shortly before halftime, when the Cowboys already were ahead 21-0. He finished 9-of-15 for 154 yards and two touchdowns.