Shoulder sprain ends season for Cards' Leinart

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Leinart sprained his left shoulder
late in the first half of the Arizona Cardinals' game against San
Francisco on Sunday, ending the quarterback's strong rookie season
one game early.

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Matt Leinart

Leinart was hurt when Roderick Green sacked him on third down
during a drive that ended in Neil Rackers' 39-yard field goal with
1:57 left in the second quarter. Leinart went to the locker room
after the hit, and returned to the sideline in street clothes as
Kurt Warner finished off the Cardinals' 26-20 victory.

Though the injury apparently isn't serious, Arizona coach Dennis
Green said Leinart will be shelved for the season finale at San
Diego next Sunday. Leinart won't need surgery, but is scheduled for
an MRI exam Wednesday.

"It hurts pretty good, but it's nothing serious, so that's a
good thing," said Leinart, who was told such injuries require
about four weeks to heal. "Nothing popped, nothing tore. There
were no noises. I just fell on it hard."

Leinart, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner from USC, was
outstanding against the 49ers, going 9-for-13 for 162 yards with a
touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald as Arizona took a 20-3 lead.

Leinart has passed for 2,547 yards and 11 TDs this season
despite sitting out most of the Cardinals' first four games.
Arizona won four of its last six games under Leinart, but is out of
playoff contention after an eight-game losing streak early in the

Warner, who lost his job to Leinart in October, passed for 105
conservative yards in the second half as Arizona barely held on.

"When you come in with a situation where somebody is doing
well, you just don't want to mess up what's going on," Warner
said. "It was really about managing the game at that point."