In Deuce McAllister’s locker, front-and-center on the top shelf, is a gold-painted wooden carving of the word: “Believe!”
After his second season-ending knee injury in three seasons, the Saints’ 28-year-old all-time leading rusher wants to believe he will return to the NFL as an elite running back. It won’t be easy, and he knows it.
“Obviously, the questions: Will you ever be the same? Will you ever be the back that you once were? Those are the different thoughts that obviously run through your mind as a player,” McAllister said.
McAllister said an MRI exam Tuesday confirmed his worst fears: He tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in Monday’s 31-14 loss to Tennessee.
McAllister said there was also some damage to his medial collateral ligament.
Now McAllister needs reconstructive surgery on the knee, likely a patellar tendon graft, followed by the long, painful rehabilitation that will last almost until 2008 training camp begins, if not longer.
As for this season, it’s a potentially devastating blow to the Saints, who are 0-3 and in desperate need of a victory to have any hope of rallying back into postseason contention.
•Saints starting cornerback Jason David (Washington State University) will miss four to six weeks with a fractured left forearm.
David got hurt during the Saints’ 31-14 loss to Tennessee on Monday night.
Bears will bench QB Grossman
Rex Grossman reportedly will be benched by the Chicago Bears for Sunday’s game at Detroit, with Brian Griese starting at quarterback.
Citing unidentified sources, NFL.com, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the beleaguered Grossman would sit when the Bears (1-2) visit the Lions (2-1).
The Bears would not confirm that any decision has been made, saying only that coach Lovie Smith would be available for his regular news conference today.
Steelers’ Ward doubtful
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward has a sprained right knee and is doubtful for Sunday’s game at Arizona.
Ward has missed only three games because of injury in 10 NFL seasons, and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he hasn’t ruled Ward out of the game.
Ward, injured during a 37-16 victory over San Francisco on Sunday, walked without a limp while reporting to a team meeting Monday, but was on crutches later in the day.
Around the league
The Houston Texans placed center Steve McKinney and defensive tackle Cedric Killings on injured reserve, ending their seasons. … Driving while impaired and reckless driving charges against Miami Dolphins receiver Chris Chambers will be dismissed after a plea deal was reached with prosecutors. … Running back DeDe Dorsey signed a two-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, who aren’t sure whether Rudi Johnson will be available for their game against New England because of a hamstring injury. … Tennessee punter Craig Hentrich will have more tests on his back, so the Titans will hold onto Josh Miller until they know when their veteran is healthy enough to punt again. … Martin Gramatica is free to look for work, if his injured hamstring is up to the task. The Dallas Cowboys released the kicker from their injured reserve list. He went on the list in training camp and the team’s kicking duties went to rookie Nick Folk.