Titans' RB George Tests Sore Knee

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

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee running back Eddie George tested his sore right knee Wednesday by running lightly Wednesday and is confident he'll play Monday night against Washington.

George cautioned that he still has to wait and see how his knee feels on Thursday and that the big key will be how he can stop and start on the grass.

``I want to peak on Monday as far as getting this knee as healthy as possible. (If) I'm able to go on it, then I'm going to go,'' George said.

The Titans were more cautious and listed George as questionable for the game due to the first-degree sprain of his medial collateral ligament. Coach Jeff Fisher said George really has improved a lot in the last two days, which they expect to continue. Whether he plays likely won't be decided until Monday night.

``We have to wait and see how it goes and be patient with it,'' Fisher said.

The injury occurred on George's first carry in last week's 14-6 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

It was the first time that the three-time Pro Bowl selection, who had just started his 70th game, has watched a game from the sidelines as a pro. The last time? Try Ohio State in 1994 when he was on the sidelines during a 63-14 loss to Penn State.

Team doctors diagnosed the light sprain Monday, and George received some treatment for his knee Tuesday.

On Wednesday, he ran for the first time. A couple of minutes late in joining his teammates on the practice field, George came out without a helmet, wearing a floppy hat and a sleeveless T-shirt, and took part in some stretching for a couple of minutes.

Then he walked to the neighboring field with strength coach Steve Watterson and spent the next 20 minutes high-stepping and skipping by himself. When he finished, he watched with ice wrapped around his knee as the Titans completed their drills.

George, who had been the AFC's leading rusher before the injury, has compared notes with teammates like left guard Bruce Matthews and tight end Frank Wycheck since they dealt with the same injury the past few months.

But George isn't planning on using a brace on his knee even though Matthews is wearing a brace on his right knee two weeks after spraining the same ligament.

Even though the Titans beat the Ravens without George, they need him on the field.

The 1995 Heisman Trophy winner has rushed for at least 1,200 yards in each of his first four seasons in the NFL. The Titans are 21-5 when George rushes for 100 or more yards, and 18-0 when he carries 27 times in a game.

Before the injury, George had rushed for at least 100 yards in each of his three previous games, a stretch in which he had 101 carries, the third-highest total behind Earl Campbell (103 in 1981) and Rodney Hampton (102 in 1993).

George is taking a matter of fact approach to the injury.

``Unfortunately, I was the victim of it this time. I just have to deal with it and try to get healthy,'' he said.