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RB James Stewart lost to injury - Lions now possible trading partner?


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Because of the injury to James Stewart, I wouldn't be surprised if we trade either Betts or Watson to Detroit now, instead of to New Orleans. Ki-Jana Carter had 95 yards in 24 carries for New Orleans. :D

Back suffers dislocated shoulder on 10th play

August 29, 2003

BY CURT SYLVESTER - FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Running back James Stewart went home Thursday night with his arm in a sling. And the Lions went home with their fingers crossed.

Stewart, the Lions' leading rusher the past three season, suffered a dislocated right shoulder on the 10th play of the final exhibition game, a 22-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Although the immediate impression was that Stewart would not be ready for the season opener against Arizona on Sept. 7 and could be sidelined for a significant period of time, coach Steve Mariucci said he was hoping for the best.

"We're not ruling out anything just yet," he said. "We're going to get an MRI and let that tell us much more than we know right now."

Backup linebacker Brian Williams suffered a dislocated left shoulder, and Mariucci said both players were scheduled to undergo MRIs immediately upon arrival in Detroit late Thursday or early today.

Stewart was in obvious distress before being helped off the field by the Lions' medical staff and he had a look of dejection as he left the locker room.

Even with nine days to recuperate before the Arizona game, it seemed unlikely he would be able to make a full recovery.

If Stewart is not able to play against the Cardinals, Mariucci is likely to rely on all of his halfbacks -- Shawn Bryson, Avon Cobourne and Autry Denson, or at least the two he decides to keep in the final roster cuts Sunday.

"I don't know who the bell cow would be," Mariucci said. "I don't know who the lead dog would be, if we have a guy that is capable of 25 carries a game. I don't know that we have that person ready yet. So it could very well be running back-by-committee."

All three of the backup backs played against the Bills, with varying results:

Denson carried eight times for 35 yards, including a long gain of 11 yards, and caught six passes for 40 yards.

Cobourne carried four times for 19 yards, with a long run of 10 yards, and caught two passes for 51 yards, including a 47-yarder that was the Lions' longest play of the exhibition season.

Bryson carried six times for 10 yards and caught one pass for eight yards.

Bryson is the back Mariucci and Lions president Matt Millen expected to use as the backup to Stewart, but he has been slow coming off the knee surgery required after an injury last October when he was with the Bills.

Considering Mariucci's stated intention to get his starters out of the game as quickly as possible, it was likely that Stewart would have had only one or two more plays before going to the sidelines and out of harm's way.

But Mariucci obviously wanted to get him some work in the final exhibition game. Stewart had eight touches -- seven runs and one reception -- in the first 10 plays. He was injured on his seventh carry when strong safety Coy Wire stood him up as he crossed the line of scrimmage.

"We intended to play a couple series with our starters and that was the second series," Mariucci said.

The Lions regulars left the game after those two series and the backups found themselves down, 14-0, when they came on for the third series. But quarterback Mike McMahon brought the Lions scrambling from behind to eventually take a 16-14 lead.

Backup fullback Stephen Trejo grabbed Cobourne's fumble at the goal line for a touchdown, and Jason Hanson kicked field goals from 47, 32 and 46 yards.

The Bills scored in the first quarter on Antonio Brown's 75-yard punt return touchdown and on Alex Van Pelt's 34-yard touchdown pass to Josh Reed. The Bills rallied for the game-winning, one-yard touchdown run by Olandis Gary with 12:01 left to play.

Quarterback Joey Harrington completed just two of four passes for 16 yards in his two series. McMahon had his second outstanding game, completing 11 of 19 passes for 155 yards, and No. 3 quarterback Ty Detmer was 7-for-10 for 56 yards.

The loss gave the Lions a 2-2 exhibition record, their best since the 2000 team also won two of four as a prelude to the 9-7 season. That year, Bobby Ross resigned after nine games, Gary Moeller was fired at the end of the season and Millen's new regime eventually hired Marty Mornhinweg.

The Bills finished the exhibition season at 3-1.

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Thursday, August 28, 2003

ESPN.com news services

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Detroit Lions running back James Stewart separated his right shoulder in the first quarter of Thursday night's preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. It was not determined how long he will be out. Also during Thursday's game, Lions linebacker Brian Williams dislocated his left shoulder and left the game.

Stewart, who led the Lions with 1,021 yards rushing last season, was hurt when he was hit at the line of scrimmage by Bills safety Coy Wire and then tackled from behind by three other defenders.

Stewart lay on the field for several minutes as Lions trainers tended to his right shoulder. He then gingerly held out his hurt arm as he was led off the field and taken to the locker room for further evaluation.

The injury occurred during the Lions' second series of the game. Stewart had 27 yards rushing on seven carries and one catch for 12 yards before getting hurt.

The series probably would have been Stewart's last of the game.

The Lions have no proven backups at running back. Detroit entered the preseason with Shawn Bryson, Avon Cobourne and Autry Denson competing for the backup position.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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What do they have that we would want?

As mentioned above, we'd be looking at a draft pick for now. Likely a 7th rounder. Not much.

I'm getting the impression that Watson is gone, it's obvious that the 'Skins have been trying to trade Watson first, Betts second. But I think Betts was bait only if we could land a starter at DT. Now that we are more or less solidified, what are we looking for from other teams?

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