Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Injuries Begin to Pile Up; Neck Injury to Mitchell Most Serious

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Injuries Begin to Pile Up; Neck Injury to Mitchell Most Serious

Article excerpt

Byline: Bart Hubbuch, Times-Union sports writer

The Buffalo Bills added three serious injuries to the insult of their 38-17 triumph over the Jaguars yesterday at Alltel Stadium.

Jacksonville's summer-long run of good health came to a sudden halt when linebacker Keith Mitchell, kick returner Jermaine Lewis and cornerback Kiwaukee Thomas all went down in the first half and did not return.

Although he stayed in the game, quarterback Mark Brunell also was in intense pain after having his lower back twisted by Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes in the third quarter.

Mitchell's situation was by far the most severe. The seven-year veteran injured his neck with 5:39 left in the first quarter and was taken to Baptist Medical Center after losing feeling in some of his extremities.

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said Mitchell would undergo further tests for possible damage to his spinal cord.

"At this point, he's regained feeling," Del Rio said. "He did have a rather serious neck injury, but so far, we've heard nothing but good news."

The sight of Mitchell being carted off on a stretcher with his neck in a brace shook up his teammates.

"It's a situation that's hard to watch," Jaguars cornerback Jason Craft said. "You never want to see something like that. I just wish we could have won the game for him."

Lewis, meanwhile, could miss the rest of the season after hurting his left knee on a trick play late in the second quarter.

Del Rio did not reveal the extent of Lewis' injury but was anything but optimistic after Lewis twisted his knee on a 10-yard carry on a double reverse.

"The initial prognosis is not good," Del Rio said.

The Jaguars feared something like this might happen with Lewis when they signed the oft-injured veteran last spring.

Lewis missed four games because of injury with Houston last year, prompting Del Rio to say the Jaguars would limit his snaps as a wide receiver in a bid to keep the 5-foot-7 Lewis healthy. …

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