Carter's 110-game starting streak likely to end
Posted: Monday December 13, 1999 08:22 PM
Cris Carter's ability to heal quickly could be crucial to the Vikings' waning playoff hopes. Tom Pidgeon/Allsport
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings might have to make their desperation drive for the playoffs without their best player, receiver Cris Carter.
The NFC's leading receiver has a sprained ankle that threatens to halt his 110-game starting streak and might even end his season.
"If I can't play the rest of the year, I had a great year," said Carter,
The same can't be said for the Vikings, who fell to 7-6 with a 31-28 loss at Kansas City, where Carter got hurt in the second quarter and never returned Sunday night.
"I thought I had torn my Achilles' tendon initially," said Carter, who tore ligaments on the front of his ankle. He was fitted with a cast and a boot on his right ankle Monday afternoon.
Coach Dennis Green said Carter could be out anywhere from one to three weeks and maybe even into the playoffs -- which the Vikings might not even qualify for without the services of the perennial Pro Bowl receiver.
"The problem with high ankle sprains are that it is very difficult to predict when a guy can play," Green said. "It could be as short a period of time as Warrick Dunn's, two weeks. It could be as long a period of time as Matthew Hatchette's, five or six weeks."
Carter, who played through a painful hip injury earlier this season and has missed just four games in his 13-year career, is known as a quick healer, and that gives the Vikings a glimmer of hope.
"If anybody heals quickly, he does," Green said. "He's been given a very gifted, exceptional body for the game of football. So, whatever the healing process will be, for Cris Carter, it will be fast."
Carter said he won't push it to continue his starting streak.
"My overall health is far more important than playing against the Packers," he said.
"There's a difference between what we call a 'boo-boo' and an injury," Carter added. "And I'm injured now."
The absence of Carter for any amount of time would seriously damage the Vikings' playoff aspirations.
After the Vikings stumbled to a 2-4 start, Carter almost single-handedly lifted the Vikings back into playoff contention with the best five-game stretch by any receiver in NFL history.
He caught 44 passes for 621 yards and nine touchdowns in quarterback Jeff George's first five starts after Randall Cunningham was benched.
He had a career-best four straight 100-yard receiving games and tied a club record with TDs in seven straight games, a streak that ended Sunday night when his ankle was caught underneath him on his only catch, a 22-yarder, with three minutes left in the first half.
Carter has 82 receptions for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.
"When you lose a player of that magnitude, it's tough," George said. "He does some great things on the field and he's one of our leaders. It's going to be tough. But we have guys we have confidence in that have to step in and make plays."
Randy Moss, despite being the NFC's leader with 1,083 yards receiving, has been inconsistent, as has Jake Reed, who would replace Carter in the lineup.
Reed was benched just last month for dropping too many passes, and Hatchette has just five catches all season, although two were TDs, and Moss dropped two passes and fumbled away two balls Sunday night.
None of this has caused Green to back off his prediction that the Vikings will overcome their sobering season of inconsistency to emerge from the logjam of wild-card contenders to make a run at the Super Bowl.
"We think that we have as good a chance as anyone else," Green said.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Copyright © 2000|
An AOL Time Warner Company.
All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.