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Rod Woodson to miss at least a week
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Old 16 Sep 2003, 05:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Rod Woodson to miss at least a week

Veteran Raiders free safety Rod Woodson, still rehabilitating from last week's arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, will not play in Monday night's AFC West showdown against the Denver Broncos.

It is also possible that Woodson, who is undergoing daily treatments but hasn't begun to run following surgery to repair cartilage damage, could miss at least another game or two before returning to the lineup.

Woodson, 38, acknowledged Monday that he injured the knee in early August at training camp, but was purposely vague about how it occurred and termed it a "freak incident." The knee troubled him in the preseason and then, after the opening-game loss at Tennessee on Sept. 7, the level of pain essentially dictated the procedure to repair meniscus cartilage.

"I wasn't about to try to go through the whole season with (the knee) like it was," said Woodson, whose 69 career interceptions are the third most in league history. "Something had to be done. And the sooner, the better, as far as I was concerned."

Until being deactivated for Sunday's victory over Cincinnati, the 16th-year veteran had not missed a game since 1998. His last surgery came in '95, when an injury in that year's season opener prompted reconstructive knee surgery, forcing him to miss the balance of the campaign. He returned, remarkably, to play in Super Bowl XXX for the Pittsburgh Steelers, just four months after the surgery.

He won't be hasty in his return this time.

While the swelling has subsided, there is still pain and soreness in the knee joint, and it remains difficult for Woodson to put any weight on his left leg. Woodson is riding a stationary bicycle but probably won't test the knee, in terms of running on it at anything clsoe to full speed, until next week.

His absence means the Raiders will, once again, field a makeshift secondary. Longtime cornerback Terrance Shaw, who had never started a game at safety prior to this year, will continue in his new role as Woodson's replacement. Shaw crammed for last week's assignment as if it were an SAT exam and played well, getting in-game advice from Woodson at times.

Second-year veteran Phillip Buchanan, still struggling through nagging injuries, will again start at cornerback. Strong safety Derrick Gibson will call most secondary adjustments and checkoffs, even though the Raiders' free safety usually has that job.

Not surprisingly, Woodson allowed that watching from the sideline (and hoping that the patchwork secondary can hold together) is more difficult than dealing with the lingering pain in his left knee.

He won't, however, allow emotion to dictate his return. "You don't want to undo the whole (surgery) deal," Woodson said. "When I can run, and the pain is tolerable, then I'll be back out there as quickly as possible."

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