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Jets' Martin to have season-ending knee surgery

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jets running back Curtis Martin
will undergo season-ending surgery on his right knee after missing
Sunday's game against Oakland, breaking a streak of 119
regular-season starts.


Martin, known for his ability to play through pain, initially
hurt his knee against Miami in Week 2. The reigning NFL rushing
champion has missed five regular-season games during his 11-year
career. He last missed a game on Oct. 11, 1998, when he sat out
against St. Louis with a thigh injury.
Including playoff games, the 32-year-old Martin had started 126
straight. With his year over, Martin failed in his quest to become
the first player in NFL history to start a career with 11 straight
1,000-yard seasons. He finished with 735 yards.
The team said Martin will have surgery this week. Rookie Cedric
Houston will start in Martin's place.
Coach Herman Edwards made it a goal for the team to get Martin
to the mark, and Martin talked earlier this week about getting
there.
"It would be a great goal to accomplish," Martin said. "This
is one that I think would be special. I have to understand that
this would be special, not for myself, but just for everyone who's
a part of it."
Because setting the record meant so much, Martin must have been
in extreme pain to elect to have surgery during the season. With
the Jets struggling, it is probably not worth the risk to continue
playing. In 2002, Martin played with injuries to both his ankles in
what to this point was the toughest season of his career.
When asked to compare the two seasons, Martin said, "This has
been one of my more challenging if not my most challenging year
physically."
The last time Martin missed more than one game in a season was
when he was with New England in 1997. Martin sat out the final
three regular-season games and two playoff games with shoulder and
groin injuries.
Martin is the seventh key offensive player to go out for the
season, and the fifth starter, joining quarterbacks Chad Pennington
and Jay Fiedler, center Kevin Mawae, tackle Jason Fabini, tight end
Chris Baker and receiver Wayne Chrebet.
The Jets also said Fiedler had arthroscopic surgery on his right
shoulder Friday.