Raiders' Ritchie Has Appendectomy

Monday, October 2nd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Fullback Jon Ritchie felt awful all through the Oakland Raiders' bye week. His stomach hurt, he wasn't getting any sleep and aspirin wasn't helping.

Finally, on Saturday night, Ritchie drove himself to a nearby hospital. Within a few hours, his appendix had been removed.

``Some bye, huh?'' he said at the Raiders' training facility.

Sporting a fresh bandage on his abdomen, Ritchie amazingly showed up to watch practice Monday, but was headed home to rest in the afternoon.

He was still holding out hope he could play Sunday when the Raiders (3-1) travel across the San Francisco Bay to meet the 49ers (2-3).

``I don't really know how it works,'' Ritchie said, joking: ``I've never had an appendectomy before.''

Coach Jon Gruden said Ritchie was listed as questionable for the game, although it seemed improbable he would play.

``He really wants to play in the game,'' Gruden said. ``I'm sure if there's any way, he'll be out there.''

Ritchie, enjoying a greater role on offense this season, has caught six passes for 56 yards in the Raiders' first four games, including three catches for 13 yards in Oakland's 36-10 victory over the Browns on Sept. 24.

Zack Crockett will start in Ritchie's place Sunday against the 49ers.

The pain crept up slowly last week, Ritchie said, until finally he couldn't sleep. All Friday night and Saturday during the day he was hoping it would magically disappear.

``It was hurting for a long time, but I thought it was just a muscle pull in my stomach,'' he said. ``I kept resisting the idea that something was wrong with me.''

Ritchie met a team doctor at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley and the emergency appendectomy was performed. His appendix had not burst.

He spent Saturday night in the hospital and was released Sunday.

``It's funny, you kind of trade abdominal pain for more abdominal pain,'' he said.

Ritchie, who appeared ashen and admitted he felt horrible, said he hadn't yet spoken to the doctors about his recovery.

``I'd like to feel better. It's going to take me a couple of days before I can really tell,'' he said.

Raiders tackle Lincoln Kennedy teased Ritchie about showing up for workouts Monday: ``He's lonely.''

``I told him earlier that I admired him for being here,'' Kennedy said, ``I also told him to go home.''

Ritchie, heading slowly for the showers, replied painfully.

``I will,'' he said.