The Arizona Cardinals, expected to be one of the few teams to return its entire offensive line intact for 2002, will not be able to claim that distinction after all.
League and team sources confirmed late Tuesday night that right tackle Anthony Clement, who has started all 16 games each of the last two seasons, will miss the entire 2002 season with a torn left triceps. The injury was sustained in last Saturday's preseason game.
Clement, 26, will have surgery in coming days and the injury requires about 8-12 months of rehabilitation.
"You look at the way those guys play up front and watch the
films and it's hard to believe there's not more injuries,''
quarterback Jake Plummer said. "But it hurts. He put a lot of hard
work and was going to have a great year.''
Interviewed before his trip to the doctor Tuesday, Clement
didn't have much to say.
"It hurts more than anything,'' he said, referring to the
emotional pain, not the physical kind. "I went through a lot of
preparation just to find out that I could be done.''
The team's second-round choice in the 1998 draft, Clement is a mammoth (6-feet-8 and 330 pounds) blocker, one with great drive in the running game. The former Southwestern Louisiana star has appeared in 49 games and has started 46 of them. He signed a new five-year, $15 million contract, which included a $3 million signing bonus, in March.
Arizona is expected to move second-year veteran Leonard Davis, the club's first-round choice in 2001, from right guard to right tackle. Veteran lineman Chris Dishman likely will move into the starting lineup at right guard.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.