Work in Sports
Rams' Warner, Faulk injured in setback against Chiefs
Updated: Sunday October 22, 2000 10:25 PM
By Don Banks, Sports Illustrated
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kurt Warner's historic 26-game hot streak came to a painful end Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Warner, the St. Louis Rams' record-breaking and MVP-winning quarterback, is expected to miss an estimated four to six weeks after breaking the pinky finger on his throwing hand late in the first half of the Rams' 54-34 collapse at Kansas City.
"I thought it was just dislocated," said Warner, who broke the finger on the Rams' last play of the first half, when he fumbled a snap from fill-in center Steve Everitt. "I thought we could just pop it back in and go with it. But we took some X-rays at halftime and found out it was broken."
Warner's fumble was caused by Everitt snapping the ball before he was ready for it. Either crowd noise, or the fact that Everitt was replacing starting center Andy McCollum, who shifted to right guard for the injured Adam Timmerman, was to blame for the mishandled exchange.
It was Warner's third turnover of the first half -- he also threw two interceptions -- and ended a promising Rams drive at the Chiefs' 8-yard line. Kansas City held a 27-14 lead when Warner fumbled with 16 seconds remaining in the half.
Warner was replaced by Trent Green, the former starter who he replaced in August 1999, when Green was lost for the season due to a knee injury. Green played the entire second half, throwing for 205 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception. But he could never get St. Louis closer than 12 points behind in his most extensive regular-season action since 1998 with Washington.
And Warner might not be the only Rams superstar missing next week when St. Louis (6-1) travels to San Francisco (2-6). Running back Marshall Faulk injured his left shoulder in the second half and left the game briefly. Afterward, Rams head coach Mike Martz said the shoulder could be just bruised, but that he was "really concerned" since Faulk seemed to be in great pain.
Even a slight shoulder separation could cost Faulk two to three weeks of missed action. Faulk had a tough day all around against the Chiefs. At one point, TV cameras caught him throwing up on the field between plays.
"Although we're disappointed today, it's definitely not a panic situation," Green said. "I was happy with the way things went [for me]. I really don't get a whole lot of work with the [first team in practice]. But I was able to go in there and make some plays.... It's a great opportunity for me."
Warner, when asked if four to six weeks sounded reasonable for his injury, said he would like to return sooner than that timetable.
"I want to be back next week, so I'm going to take it day by day and try to get back as soon as I can," Warner said. "Whatever that takes ... one week, two weeks, four weeks, six weeks. As soon as I can get back and help this football team I want to be back in there."
Warner finished his first half 15-of-25 for 185 yards, two sacks, one touchdown and two interceptions. Faulk ran 17 times for 67 yards and one touchdown, and caught six passes for 32 yards. If Faulk misses any significant time, rookie Trung Candidate and fullback Robert Holcombe would be expected to pick up the slack.
"This happens in the NFL," Martz said. "There isn't a team right now that isn't going through what we're going through with injuries. You just close up the ranks and move on."