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McNair to Miss Final 3 Games Of the Season

Saturday, December 18, 2004; Page D02

Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair will miss the final three games of the season and undergo surgery to strengthen the bruised sternum that has plagued him most of the year.

Coach Jeff Fisher said a chief consideration is that McNair, the NFL's co-most valuable player last season, will need the surgery even if he never plays football again to fix the damage caused by three injuries to his sternum.

Titans quarterback Steve McNair has enured many pains this season and will miss the rest of the year to have surgery on his sternum. (David J. Phillip - AP)

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McNair had a bye week to recover after initially bruising his sternum in September 2000 and did not start the next game. But he came off the bench and pulled out a victory at Pittsburgh and didn't have pain from the injury after that season.

McNair, who has missed five starts this season for the struggling Titans (4-9), talked to reporters yesterday for the first time since Dec. 1, when he refused to back off comments that he would consider retiring in the offseason. McNair, who will turn 32 on Feb. 14, concluded it was better to have the surgery before the end of the season.

"It's something [the injuries] I've been dealing with for 10 years, I think I can deal with this one," McNair said. . . .

The Miami Dolphins will put their courtship of Louisiana State Coach Nick Saban on hold to comply with the NFL's hiring policy by interviewing a minority candidate, a team source told the Associated Press.

Such an interview could delay offering the job to Saban until next week, but he remains the front-runner to become the Dolphins' coach, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

LSU Athletic Director Skip Bertman said he believes the Dolphins are about to make an offer and Saban is interested in the job.

"I think an offer is very imminent," Bertman said. . . .

Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer was fined $5,000 by the NFL for making an obscene gesture during last week's game against Miami. Plummer reached his hand behind his helmet and made the gesture upon reaching the bench after throwing a first-quarter interception in the 20-17 win over the Dolphins. . . .

Rams quarterback Marc Bulger still has soreness in his sprained right shoulder and likely will not play tomorrow against Arizona.

-- From News Services

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