Wide receiver Plaxico Burress missed practice with a strained hip flexor, and coach Tom Coughlin said the injury is expected to keep the free-agent acquisition on the sidelines for a few more days.

Burress hurt his left hip during practice Tuesday. On Wednesday, he rode a stationary bike but did not take part in drills.

On Saturday, Burress hyperextended his right knee during the morning workout, but returned in the afternoon. He said Wednesday that his knee felt fine, and downplayed the hip injury.

“The good thing is I didn’t pull it or tear it,” he said. “I’ll just take it day-to-day and see what happens.”

Seahawks

Another first-round draft pick was late to training camp, even though Chris Spencer was ready and raring to show up.

The center from Mississippi can settle in at the Seahawks’ camp in Cheyney, Wash., now. He signed a five-year contract worth $7.4 million, with an additional $2.3 million available in incentives. A spokesman for Spencer’s agent, Ken Kremer, said up to $5 million is guaranteed for the No. 26 overall selection, Seattle’s last unsigned rookie.

“Every day, I woke up and had my bag sitting at the door,” Spencer said. “All I had to do was grab it when my agent called.”

The 6-foot-3, 305-pound lineman was a two-year starter at Ole Miss. He’s expected to back up veteran center Robbie Tobeck, who couldn’t resist teasing the rookie to welcome him.

“Hey, we’ve got pads on,” Tobeck called. “Where are yours? It’s not a day off.”

Bears

Defensive back Jerry Azumah, a Pro Bowl kick returner two years ago, had arthroscopic surgery on his right hip Wednesday and was expected to miss three to four weeks.

Coach Lovie Smith said he was expecting Azumah back for the Sept. 11 season opener at Washington.

“They went in and cleaned it out. That’s basically about all they were able to do and needed to do,” Smith said.

Azumah had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck a year ago, forcing him to miss the first four games of the regular season.

Azumah marked his return on Oct. 17 by intercepting a deflected pass and taking it 70 yards for a touchdown. He ended up with four interceptions in 12 games, including eight starts. He also averaged 22 yards on kickoff returns.

Panthers

Wide receiver Keary Colbert missed practice with a strained right hamstring. Colbert, listed as a starter so far in training camp, was injured on Tuesday during one-on-one drills. Colbert said it was stiff when he woke up Wednesday.

“It tightened up on me yesterday and luckily I felt it was smart enough to stop,” he said.

Colbert set Panthers rookie records last season with 47 receptions, 754 yards receiving and five touchdowns.

Packers

Brett Favre has been protected by one of the league’s elite offensive lines for the last four years, but there’s been a changing of the guards in Green Bay and his superb pocket of protection has been shattered.

The Packers lost both starting guards in free agency. Three-time Pro Bowler Marco Rivera signed with Dallas and Mike Wahle, whose power and grace pulling to the strong side helped spring Ahman Green to four straight Pro Bowls, signed with Carolina. In the last four seasons, the durable duo helped keep Favre upright, Rivera allowing only four sacks and Wahle just 61/2.

Among the candidates to replace them are two free agents with a history of injuries: left guard Adrian Klemm and right guard Matt O’Dwyer, who strained a shoulder at practice Wednesday.

And a question mark has emerged at left tackle after Brad Bedell injured a hamstring, leaving the Packers scrambling to figure out who will back up Chad Clifton.

Bills

Buffalo quarterback J.P. Losman will never forget the first time he met his boyhood idol, Brett Favre.

It was the summer before Losman’s senior season at Tulane when a mutual friend set up a golf outing involving them. Pulling up to Favre’s home in Mississippi, Losman recalled meeting a shirtless Favre, who was covered in dirt after a morning out on his farm.

Things will be much different when the two meet in Green Bay on Friday for a scrimmage, Losman’s debut in a competitive setting since being chosen the Bills’ starter last February. It’s a chance for the second-year pro to start showing how ready he’ll be for the season, performing before a packed house at Lambeau Field and with Favre watching from the sideline.

“This is huge for me,” Losman said. “I’m a big, big fan, just the way he handles himself.”

And yet, Losman has one concern: “Hopefully, he’ll remember me when I see him.”

AP-ES-08-03-05 2002EDT


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.