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Make it stop

Warner hopes controversy over injury will die down

Posted: Wednesday December 04, 2002 9:37 PM

 
SI's Inside the NFL
The Rams have a tough long-term decision to make about Marc Bulger, the league's highest-rated passer, who will be an exclusive-rights free agent after the season. That means St. Louis only has to tender him an offer to retain his rights. Look for the Rams to try to sign Bulger to a long-term deal, partly out of concern about Kurt Warner's performance and also because Mike Martz will be damned if he trades a quarterback who ends up developing into a great passer somewhere else.

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    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A day after a different Warner made news, the St. Louis Rams' quarterback was eager for the controversy to die down.

    Brenda Warner had called a radio station Tuesday to complain that her husband had his broken hand X-rayed at her urging, not at the insistence of head coach Mike Martz. The tape of her brief complaint, in response to a suggestion that perhaps Kurt Warner had violated a trust with Martz by holding out on the injury, has been replayed endlessly in St. Louis.

    "Martz had nothing to do with it," Brenda Warner said. "All week long I said, 'Kurt, I'm a nurse, you should go get it X-rayed.' The doctors never once said he should get an X-ray. [They] said, 'No, it's only bruised.'"

    On Wednesday, neither of those involved wanted the story to go any further.

    Warner, who will miss at least two weeks with a hairline fracture at the knuckle of the little finger, is usually affable to a fault. Not on this topic.

    "None of it's really an issue, so I'm not worried about it and nothing I need to comment on," Warner said.

    He also played down discussions between himself and his wife.

    "Did I talk to her?" Warner said. "Of course we talked about it. We discussed it between us and know how we're going to handle it. Like I said, it's not an issue.

    "It's not anything that needs to be any kind of big deal at all."

    Warner refused comment on whether Martz had insisted on X-rays Monday, asking at that point only to field questions about the hand. Martz also had little to say on the subject.

    "It's just really not important," Martz said. "We know how we went through things here, on Monday what we said, and how we approached this. We're comfortable with it.

    "Anything else is best left unsaid."

    The tiff doesn't appear to have affected the coach-player relationship. The Rams (5-7) almost certainly won't make the playoffs, but Martz seems eager to get Warner back on the field.

    Martz said Warner could probably play in two weeks. He won't practice this week.

    Warner has had four injuries to the right hand -- his meal ticket -- in the last three seasons. He missed almost two months with a broken pinkie this year and also missed five games with a similar broken pinkie in 2000. He also played with a sprained thumb much of last season.

    He's been dealing a hand specialist who told him he should not have any lasting effects.

    Warner believes the latest break came in the first quarter of a 20-17 loss to the Redskins Nov. 24. Last week, leading up to a 10-3 loss to the Eagles, he believed it to be simply a bruise.

    The NFL's MVP in 1999 and 2001 is certain he'll be back as good as new next season.

    "I know when I'm healthy, I know what I can do," he said. "I know what kind of player I am, I know what I still have left in the tank, and I'm a long ways from being done."

    Warner will miss Sunday's reunion game at Kansas City against Dick Vermeil, his head coach when the Rams won the Super Bowl in January 2000.

     
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