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Culpepper has more surgery

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

Miami Dolphins quarterback Daunte Culpepper underwent arthroscopic knee surgery this week to remove a piece of cartilage that has hampered his recovery from reconstructive surgery a year ago.

“Behind his kneecap there was a little piece of articular cartilage that was causing some catching,” coach Nick Saban said Thursday. “That’s what was causing the problem.

“That’s why we wanted to get this evaluated. We all feel much better that there’s a solution to what wasn’t a serious issue, but it was an issue that was holding him back some.”

Culpepper will remain on the active roster, at least for now, so there remains a chance he’ll play again this season.

Culpepper underwent major knee surgery in November 2005. He returned to the field more quickly than expected and played in Miami’s first four games this year, but with his mobility hampered, he was sacked 21 times.

He was then pulled from the lineup so he could focus on rehabilitation. Culpepper has since practiced on a limited basis, and when he last spoke to reporters two weeks ago, he said he still felt sharp pain in his right knee when he pushed off.

Culpepper last played Oct. 1. Saban declined to speculate on the chances he’ll play again this year.

Browns back Crennel

Romeo Crennel’s boss isn’t planning to make him the next former Cleveland coach. Not now, and not anytime soon.

Browns general manager Phil Savage strongly backed Crennel, saying it was unfair to blame him for all Cleveland’s problems, temporarily snuffing speculation the struggling club was on the verge of a coaching change.

Crennel, 9-18 in two seasons with Cleveland, has come under heavy attack for the team’s 3-8 record and a perceived lack of player discipline.

Bothered by speculation surrounding his coach’s future, Savage said he met with Crennel before addressing the media and told him, “I’m going to try to put an end to this.”

49ers’ Johnson out

San Francisco 49ers tight end Eric Johnson will miss at least the next two weeks after injuring his left knee during practice, the 49ers disclosed. The sprained knee ligament will prevent the 49ers from getting full use out of the veteran pass-catcher and rookie Vernon Davis in their two-tight end offense.

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