Bills LB Crowell likely out for season with broken left leg

Updated: December 4, 2006, 4:04 PM ET
Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills starting linebacker Angelo Crowell is expected to miss the rest of the season because of a broken left leg.

Crowell was hurt Sunday during a 24-21 loss to San Diego. Bills coach Dick Jauron announced the injury Monday, saying the team is planning to place Crowell on season-ending injured reserve.

Crowell broke a bone in his lower leg on a run by LaDainian Tomlinson on the Chargers' first possession

The linebacker hopped off the field immediately after the play, unable to put any weight on his left foot. Jauron said Crowell believes he was hurt when he was kicked while trying to make a tackle.

Jauron said Crowell is not expected to have surgery.

"It's tough for him and tough for us," Jauron said. "He was playing well and getting more and more comfortable in the scheme. It's a tough one and very disappointing."

Crowell has started all 12 games for the Bills (5-7). He entered the weekend ranked second on the team with 95 tackles.

This was Crowell's first full season as a starter. He earned the job after he did a capable job filling in after Takeo Spikes ruptured his Achilles' tendon in Week 3 of last season.

Buffalo's third-round pick in the 2003 draft out of Virginia, Crowell started this season at weak side linebacker, but switched over to the strong side after Spikes missed four games with a hamstring injury.

Reserve safety Coy Wire and rookie backup linebacker Keith Ellison will be considered to replace Crowell in the lineup. Wire, Buffalo's third-round pick in the 2002 draft, is the Bills special teams captain and played linebacker in his final two years at Stanford.

Wire played most of the snaps against San Diego, in part because he had the most practice at linebacker after Ellison missed the previous two weeks with a knee injury. Wire finished with five tackles while Ellison had one in limited playing time.

"I had an incredible sense of comfort and confidence and even a sense a peace about it when I was out there," Wire said. "Obviously, it's a big loss for our defense. Angelo's one of our best players. I'm going to take all I can do to fill his shoes the best as I can."

Crowell would become the sixth player -- and fourth defensive player -- the Bills have on injured reserve. That includes safety Troy Vincent, who was granted his request to be released in October after being placed on IR because of a hamstring injury.

Starting cornerback Terrence McGee's status is uncertain for Buffalo's game at the New York Jets on Sunday. McGee twisted his left ankle while returning a kickoff against the Chargers.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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