Chad Morton suffered a right knee ligament injury returning a kickoff in the first quarter of the Washington Redskins' 28-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers yesterday. Morton, who also returns punts, will undergo tests today to determine the severity of the injury.
Morton has been inconsistent this season, partly because he hasn't been given much room to maneuver by his blockers. He entered the game averaging 22.3 yards on kickoff returns with a long of 49, and 6.2 yards on punts with a long of 14.
Chad Morton is helped off the field by two trainers after hurting his right knee returning a kickoff in the first quarter.
(Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
Morton suffered the injury after Green Bay kicked a field goal on its first possession for a 3-0 lead. Morton took the kickoff and dashed through a hole created by a wall of Redskins blockers. After a 28-yard gain (subsequently marred by a holding penalty), Morton was tackled by defensive back Bhawoh Jue and stayed on the ground writhing in pain.
Washington's trainers rushed onto the field to examine Morton's right knee. He walked off the field with the help of two trainers and slapped his hands in anger at the injury.
If Morton's injury is long term, the fifth-year veteran probably would be replaced on kickoffs by tailback Ladell Betts and on punts by wideout James Thrash. Those two took over Morton's duties yesterday.
Betts returned two kickoffs for 57 yards, including one for 35 yards. Thrash returned two punts for a total of 17 yards.
"It's nothing new to me, I've done it before so I felt pretty good," Betts said. "I work on it all the time."
Betts was Washington's kickoff returner in 2002, with 28 returns for an average of 24.6 with a long of 60. . . .
Safety Andre Lott tore his left pectoral muscle in the third quarter, keeping him out of action the rest of the game. Lott, who was filling in for rookie Sean Taylor, had missed the previous three games with a hamstring injury. Taylor was on the inactive list after being charged with DWI on Thursday.
Brunell Draws Boo Birds
The chants for Redskins backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey started in the second quarter after Mark Brunell was intercepted by defensive back Jue on second and eight from the Washington 43-yard line.
Brunell quieted the crowd on Washington's next possession by leading an eight-play, 24-yard drive culminated by a 12-yard touchdown pass to wideout Rod Gardner. But almost each time Brunell made a bad pass, the fans reacted with boos and calls for Ramsey.
Brunell won the starting job after the 11th-year veteran was acquired in the offseason. But he has been statistically one of the NFL's worst quarterbacks.
"It's a bit of a weird feeling but Mark deserves better than that," Ramsey said. "He's out there playing his heart out. I thought he played well today. The second guy is always popular when thing aren't going well.
"I don't get caught up in that [the cheering] at all. I'm out there to provide support for Mark and our team as much as I can." . . .