Warner expected to miss 5-6 weeks

Wednesday, October 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ The waiting game is beginning for the St. Louis Rams, and it could be a longer wait than first thought.

Rams quarterback Kurt Warner underwent surgery to repair the broken little finger on his throwing hand Tuesday. Doctors placed two pins into the broken bone during the 35-minute procedure.

The pins will come out in three weeks, and Warner will then begin physical therapy, said Dr. George Paletta, who is also the St. Louis Cardinals team physician.

Warner had said he planned to return to the field when the pins were removed, or in ``three weeks and a day.'' But Paletta said Tuesday that 5-6 weeks is a more realistic timetable, and even that is tentative.

``It depends on adequate bone healing, demonstrated by X-rays,'' Paletta said.

Doctors originally thought Warner wouldn't need surgery after looking at X-rays Sunday, which showed the bone's fractured pieces aligned. X-rays taken Monday showed the fractured pieces had moved apart, Paletta said.

Warner, last year's NFL Most Valuable Player and Super Bowl MVP, broke his finger Sunday in the Rams' 54-34 loss to Kansas City, their first defeat in seven games this season.

He was replaced by backup Trent Green, who threw for 205 yards and three touchdowns against the Chiefs. Green was the Rams' starter before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament and spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during the 1999 preseason. Warner replaced him, and led the Rams to the Super Bowl title.

It's been a busy few days for Paletta, who on Saturday operated on Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire. Paletta removed the diseased portion of a tendon in McGwire's right knee.

McGwire was sidelined for most of the second half of the season by tendinitis in the knee. He is expected to start rehabilitation soon and could be ready for spring training in late February.