MVP Alexander out indefinitely with cracked bone in foot
Monday, September 25th 2006, 10:00 pm
News On 6
KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) _ The Seahawks' shield against the hex of the Super Bowl loser has its first crack: Shaun Alexander broke his left foot, and will be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks.
Coach Mike Holmgren said Monday that a bone scan revealed Alexander sustained a ``small crack'' and ``displaced fracture'' on a non-weight-bearing foot bone sometime during the Seahawks' 42-30 win over the New York Giants on Sunday.
Already nursing soreness in his foot from a bone bruise, last year's league MVP ran for 47 yards on 20 carries while wearing new shoes with special inserts before sitting out the fourth quarter, which began with Seattle leading 42-3.
Alexander missed practices last Wednesday and Thursday because of the bone bruise from the season opener at Detroit, which led to the small crack, Holmgren said.
Last season's NFL rushing leader was on crutches inside team headquarters Monday, a special player's off day following their third straight win, the coach said. Alexander had departed the facility by the time Holmgren made his announcement.
``You lose the MVP for a while, it's a hit,'' Holmgren said. ``Let's face it, he's the MVP. We're not going to sugarcoat it.''
The test of whether this crack becomes the void that has derailed the previous five Super Bowl losers begins Sunday night at Chicago, which is also 3-0. Maurice Morris will make his fifth career start for Alexander.
Seattle has its bye the following week before playing at division rival St. Louis on Oct. 15.
``I don't think it will be real lengthy,'' Holmgren said. ``Now, he just has to stay off of it and let it heal.''
Holmgren said he could not yet specify how long Alexander would be out.
``We're looking at a few weeks, let's put it that way,'' Holmgren said. ``The good thing is, it's just a small, little crack _ if you want to talk about a good thing.''
Beginning in March, Holmgren has had a ready answer for the many who have asked about this: since 2001, the Giants, Rams, Raiders, Panthers and Eagles have combined to go 31-49 in the seasons immediately following their Super Bowl losses.
``All that means is, everyone has had key guys get hurt.'' Holmgren said, a message he gave him players more than once before this season began.
Donovan McNabb, Stephen Davis, Rich Gannon, Orlando Pace, among others, all had major injuries that led to those pratfalls.
``There's no hocus-pocus to it,'' Holmgren said repeatedly.
On Sunday, the Seahawks welcomed former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch by featuring four-wide receiver formations, and Matt Hasselbeck threw a franchise record-tying five touchdown passes. Seattle's running game was already weakened by current injuries to starting guards Floyd Womack and Chris Gray and the top two tight ends, Jerramy Stevens and Itula Mili.
Now, it's Morris instead of Alexander. The second-round draft choice in 2002 from Oregon rushed 15 times for 18 yards against the Giants on Sunday.
``I do have a lot of confidence in Mo Morris,'' Holmgren said, adding the team also has ``some roster things to do'' by the end of the week.
``You have only one way to go. Just plug someone in and go.''
When asked how he was initially injured, Alexander said last week, ``People falling on you. It is just football. Football is physical. It is just one of those things.''
Alexander has started 69 of the last 70 games for the Seahawks. His only absence in that span was a 2002 start that he missed to help with the birth of his first daughter. He entered that game in the second quarter.
Last season, Alexander rushed for 1,880 yards and scored a league-record 28 touchdowns. He has just 187 yards, an average of 2.9 yards per carry, and two touchdowns through three games. His career average is 4.5 yards per rush. He has gained fewer than 100 yards in each of Seattle's three games this season, his first such streak in two years.
That all is far below the standards he set for himself. During training camp, he said with a straight face that his goal was to score 40 touchdowns this season.
``Every game I put unbelievable amount of pressure on me to do things that are just not normal,'' Alexander said last week.
``I look at the big picture before the season starts and then when the season is over and that is about it. After that, it is just week to week.''
Monday, that became weeks to weeks.