GIANTS: THE NEW YORK GIANTS GOT A SCARE SATURDAY WHEN PLAXICO BURRESS, ONE OF THEIR MAIN OFFSEASON ACQUISITIONS, INJURED A KNEE 30 MINUTES INTO THE TEAM'S FIRST PRESEASON PRACTICE. FORTUNATELY FOR THE
Giants: The New York Giants got a scare Saturday when Plaxico Burress, one of their main offseason acquisitions, injured a knee 30 minutes into the team's first preseason practice. Fortunately for the Giants and Burress, that's all it was -- a scare. Coach Tom Coughlin said the initial diagnosis was a hyperextended knee and added: "If that's what it is, then he'll make good progress coming back." He was back for the afternoon practice. Burress, who spent his first five NFL seasons with Pittsburgh before signing a six-year, $25 million deal with New York, was one of several major free agent signings the Giants made in the offseason in hopes of improving on a 10-22 record the past two seasons. He went down about a half-hour into the first session when he fell to the ground after battling rookie Ahmad Treaudo for a pass thrown by backup quarterback Jesse Palmer.
Cowboys: Nine-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Larry Allen was placed on the physically unable to perform list after failing a conditioning test. Coach Bill Parcells didn't say how long the veteran guard would be held out of practice. Allen worked with one of the team's strength coaches on the side, throwing a heavy medicine ball and went through several running drills. "The league has really mandated us to be very, very cautious in light of some incidents that have happened in the past," Parcells said in a clear reference to the death of Minnesota offensive tackle Korey Stringer in training camp in 2001. "So I would say we're erring on the side of caution. That's the best way to put it."
Panthers: Stephen Davis, recovering from microfracture surgery on his right knee, was unable to practice when the Panthers opened training camp. "Age has nothing to do with it," the 31-year-old running back repeated four times when asked about it Saturday. For now, he can only watch DeShaun Foster, Nick Goings and rookie Eric Shelton at his position. On Friday, the Panthers placed Davis on the physically unable to perform list, saying he failed his physical and was not ready to practice. But he quickly disputed that, claiming he was never really examined because it had already been determined that he would slowly continue to rehab. He said he's targeting the third preseason game as his return date and said he will be disappointed if he isn't ready for the Sept. 11 season opener. "I feel that if we had a Super Bowl game, or an important playoff game right now, I could go and play right now," he said. "The thing is, we don't want to do anything stupid and go out there and something happens. Then you would say 'What if we would have waited?' "
Jaguars: The team opened camp without first-round draft pick Matt Jones and with running back Fred Taylor nursing his surgically repaired left knee. Jones, a quarterback at Arkansas who is making the transition to receiver, was the team's lone no-show when players reported to camp Friday. The oft-injured Taylor had surgery in January to repair two partially torn ligaments in his left knee and was limited Saturday. He cut gingerly, ran with a noticeable limp and wore a protective knee brace. He participated in most team drills, but was tentative during them.
Chiefs: Guard Will Shields missed practice with back trouble and coach Dick Vermeil acknowledged he's concerned about his 10-time Pro Bowl guard. Shields, a 13-year veteran, debated during the offseason about whether to retire or play one more year. He said in an interview on Thursday that his hesitation "was more physical than anything else." Vermeil said Saturday that Shields would see another doctor for what amounts to a third opinion on his ongoing back problem. Asked if he was worried that Shields might not play at all this year, Vermeil said, "I think you always have to have a little concerned."
Lions: Detroit welcomed back injury plagued wide receiver Charles Rogers and linebacker Boss Bailey, its first two draft picks in 2003. Rogers, who broke his right collarbone twice and has played only five games, rolled after a catch and a chorus of teammates urged him to get up. He bounded to his feet and returned to the huddle. "I saw him catch it and get up and I never thought another second about it," head coach Steve Mariucci said. Bailey, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, was limited to one practice.
Texans: For the first time in the four-year history of the franchise, the Texans started training camp without their top draft pick. Defensive tackle Travis Johnson, the 16th pick in the draft, has yet to sign a contract and missed the first day of practice. He was the only player not at camp. The Texans have never encountered this problem before. "I know that we're still working on it but I don't know where we are," coach Dom Capers said. "But when he comes in here we'll put him on a crash course."
Colts: Dwight Freeney could miss the Indianapolis Colts' trip to Japan next week. Freeney, last year's NFL sacks leader, missed the first seven practices of training camp after having offseason shoulder surgery. On Saturday, the defensive end said there was a good chance he would not travel to Japan for Indianapolis' preseason opener against Atlanta. He said he believes he's healthy enough to practice, but team doctors are taking a cautious approach and have not yet cleared him. "I feel I'm there now," he said.
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