NFL Briefs

By The Associated Press

All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams could miss the Minnesota Vikings’ next two games because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

Coach Mike Tice said Monday that Williams, who has struggled this season coming off knee surgery, has a second-degree sprain and would not play Sunday against Detroit.

“I’m not a doctor. They said second degree, so I guess that’s worse than first degree, but not as bad as a third degree,” Tice said. “I have a third degree.”

Tice injured his knee when he was knocked over on the sideline on a punt return three weeks ago.

“I think he’ll be a couple of weeks, whatever the doctors say,” Tice said about Williams. “Everybody’s different with that injury. Me, I have not missed any time. Some guys miss time.

“He said to me that he felt better today and there didn’t seem to be much swelling in there.”

Williams was injured in the first quarter of the Vikings’ victory over Cleveland on Sunday and watched the rest of the game on the sidelines.

It’s been a difficult season for the third-year pro, who emerged as a star in his first two seasons, but has not had the same impact so far in 2005.

Williams had surgery on his right knee in the offseason, which hampered his conditioning and caused him to come into training camp overweight.

The Vikings received better news about injured cornerback Fred Smoot, who has missed the last three games with a broken collarbone but could be ready to return Sunday.


Sean Landeta is back with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 43-year-old punter, who is in his 21st season in the league, will be in his second stint with the Eagles. He began his NFL career with the New York Giants in 1985 and last saw action with the St. Louis Rams in 2003 and 2004.

He and Doug Flutie, the Patriots’ backup quarterback, are the last two NFL players remaining from the old USFL.


Linebacker Dat Nguyen is considering retirement after being placed on the season-ending injured reserve list with neck and knee injuries.

“He doesn’t feel like he can play up to his standard now,” coach Bill Parcells said Monday. “I think he’s going to consider retirement.”

Nguyen missed three games this year with a strained neck, starting with the Oct. 9 game against Philadelphia that ended his 43-game starting streak. He played the past four games but didn’t start.

Nguyen, 30, is in his eighth season. He has 421 career tackles and led the Cowboys in tackles the past two seasons, the first player to do that since Ken Norton Jr. in 1992-93.

In addition to the neck injury, Nguyen has had knee problems.

The Cowboys signed 12-year veteran Michael Barrow to take the roster spot.

Barrow hasn’t played this season after being released by Washington in July. Barrow had 148 tackles for the New York Giants in 2003 but didn’t play last year because of tendinitis in his knee.


Safety Lawyer Milloy’s status is uncertain for Buffalo’s game with Miami on Sunday after he injured his foot Sunday.

Offensive lineman Mike Williams’ status is also unknown after he strained a muscle in his back in the second quarter and was unable to return in a 13-9 loss to Carolina on Sunday.

Coach Mike Mularkey said Monday tests were negative on Milloy’s foot, saying the safety merely stubbed a toe. Milloy limped off the field and didn’t return after he was hurt late in the fourth quarter, a few plays before Jake Delhomme sealed a winning drive with a 3-yard pass to Michael Gaines.


Wide receiver Brandon Jones had more tests after his right knee gave out when he tried to turn back for a pass, but coach Jeff Fisher said he believes the injury wasn’t season-ending after seeing Jones on Monday.

“He’s a lot better today,” Fisher said of the rookie. “He didn’t have the swelling we anticipated.”

Jones fell to the ground and waved for help late in the first half. Shawntae Spencer picked off the pass and returned it for a touchdown. The third-round draft pick out of Oklahoma has started eight games this season, but he sprained the same knee Oct. 23 in a loss at Arizona.

“It was loose and gave out on him,” Fisher said. “It scared him. He had not experienced anything like that before.”


Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp will undergo rotator cuff surgery on his injured right shoulder Wednesday.

Sapp, who turns 33 next month, hurt his shoulder on Nov. 21 against the Washington Redskins. The injury isn’t considered career-threatening.

Sapp is one of two high-profile Raiders defenders to sustain a major injury this season. Defensive back Charles Woodson broke his right leg Oct. 23 in a 38-17 victory over Buffalo, but was not placed on injured reserve, leaving open the chance that he could return at some point this year.

Coach Norv Turner said Monday it’s too early to determine if Woodson will make it back before the end of the season.

“He’s in here working. He is getting better,” Turner said. “Until you can get him out running, until you can get him to that point, the discussion is not worthy.”

The Raiders also lost safety Reggie Tongue to a torn ACL in his left knee on Sunday against Miami. Tongue will also undergo surgery Wednesday.

Defensive lineman Ed Jasper strained his back against the Dolphins and will be limited in practice this week. Stuart Schweigert (ankle) and Tommy Kelly (ribs) were the only other noteworthy injuries Sunday and both are expected to be fine for Sunday’s game against San Diego.

AP-ES-11-28-05 2107EST

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