Hard-hitting game takes its tollPosted: Saturday January 11, 2003 11:06 PM
Doctors cut away some flesh hanging off his right thumb near the end of regulation. Then he returned and drove Tennessee down the field in overtime for Joe Nedney's 26-yard field goal that beat Pittsburgh 34-31 in Saturday's AFC playoff game.
"What can you say about our quarterback?" Titans head coach Jeff Fisher said. "I can't tell you how his hand is right now. I'm afraid to find out. He's got a chunk of skin ripped off the top of his thumb, and he couldn't grip the ball."
A string of players on both teams left with injuries, some returned and others just stayed on the sideline with concussions and sprained ankles.
McNair said he bruised his thumb and cut it open when his hand slammed against a helmet.
"I was frustrated and mad. The coach knew I wanted to be in there. I just bit the bullet," McNair said.
The Titans turned to backup Neil O'Donnell for two plays. Then McNair came back.
"He said, 'Hey, I'm going to finish this game,'" Fisher said.
McNair and the Titans will need every day to heal before next Sunday's AFC championship.
George was on the field for only one play in the second half because of a concussion in a collision with Steelers tackle Casey Hampton.
Fisher said cornerback Andre Dyson may need surgery on his right shoulder, an injury that kept him out most of the second half. Left guard Zach Piller went out in the second quarter after reinjuring his left calf, and linebacker Rocky Boiman hurt his knee.
It wasn't any easier for the Steelers.
Bell, last season's Defensive Rookie of the Year, played despite missing a second straight week of practice with a sprained left ankle. He didn't last long and wound up limping off the field.
Burress hurt himself when he went up for a pass and fell hard on his left hip. He finished with two catches for 62 yards, but he didn't have a single reception in the second half.