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Bengals Uncertain Of Palmer's Status

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 14, 2004; Page D05

Cincinnati Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis said yesterday that he expects quarterback Carson Palmer to play again this season, but he doesn't know if it will be this week.

Palmer underwent an MRI exam on the injury to his left knee that knocked him out of Sunday's loss to the New England Patriots, and Lewis indicated during his news conference that no damage to the quarterback's anterior cruciate ligament was found. Palmer had his knee in a brace and was on crutches yesterday and his status is to be reevaluated tomorrow, Lewis said.

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Philadelphia 17, Washington 14
Baltimore 37, N.Y. Giants 14
Atlanta 35, Oakland 10
New Orleans 27, Dallas 13
Buffalo 37, Cleveland 7
Indianapolis 23, Houston 14
Jacksonville 22, Chicago 3
New England 35, Cincinnati 28
Seattle 27, Minnesota 23
Pittsburgh 17, N.Y. Jets 6
Denver 20, Miami 17
Green Bay 16, Detroit 13
Carolina 20, St. Louis 7
San Francisco 31, Arizona 28 (OT)
San Diego 31, Tampa Bay 24

Kansas City 49, Tennessee 38

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"It's a matter of his tolerance and flexibility and so forth as we go," Lewis said.

Palmer, the top overall choice in last year's NFL draft, has shown steady improvement in his second pro season after Lewis handed him the starting job, ahead of veteran Jon Kitna, in the offseason. He has thrown for 2,897 yards in 13 games, with 18 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. In his last four games, Palmer has 11 touchdown passes and six interceptions.

Kitna could return to the starting role for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills. Last season, he threw for 3,591 yards, with 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, while leading the Bengals to a record of 8-8 and keeping Palmer on the bench as a rookie.

Garcia on Injured List

The Cleveland Browns placed quarterback Jeff Garcia, who tore his left medial collateral ligament in Sunday's loss to the Bills, on the injured reserve list. Garcia had been sidelined for two games by a rotator-cuff injury before appearing in three plays Sunday. With Kelly Holcomb on the shelf because of cracked ribs, the Browns have been going with rookie Luke McCown as their starter and might be forced to add a quarterback this week.

Garcia's injury ends a disappointing first season in Cleveland for the former three-time Pro Bowler in San Francisco, who signed a four-year, $25 million free agent contract in March.

Since training camp, Garcia has been publicly critical of Cleveland's offensive system. He finished the season 144 of 252 for 1,731 yards with 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. . . .

New York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin reiterated that he is keeping Eli Manning in the team's starting quarterback job despite the rookie's struggles. . . .

Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer likely will be fined by the league for making an obscene gesture toward the crowd at Invesco Field at Mile High during Sunday's win over the Miami Dolphins. Plummer issued an apology after the game. . . .

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Clark Haggans probably will be sidelined at least two weeks by a groin injury. . . .

The Oakland Raiders signed kicker Sebastian Janikowski to a five-year extension worth about $10.5 million. He would have been eligible for free agency in March.

Seahawks Lose Wistrom

Seattle defensive end Grant Wistrom has ligament damage in his left knee and will miss up to six weeks, though Coach Mike Holmgren said he could be available if the Seahawks reach the playoffs.

Wistrom was hurt in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 27-23 win at Minnesota. He missed four games earlier this season with a broken bone in his left knee.

Doctors will reexamine Wistrom within two weeks and determine if the injury is healing faster than projected. If that's the case, Holmgren said Wistrom might play if Seattle is in the playoffs.

Antonio Cochran will take Wistrom's spot at right end, with linebacker Chad Brown a possibility in nickel defense packages. Brown has missed the past three games after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, but could return this weekend against the New York Jets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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