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Knee injury puts Griese's season in jeopardy

TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 17, 2005) -- Brian Griese underwent more tests Oct. 17 to determine the severity of a knee injury that coach Jon Gruden said could sideline the Tampa Bay quarterback for weeks or possibly the season.

Gruden emphasized that the team had not received a firm diagnosis but raised the possibility that Griese, who has helped the Bucs to a 5-1 start, could be out for the season after being hurt during a 27-13 victory over Miami on Oct. 16.

"It is right now a twisted knee, a sprained knee. Whether it's more serious than that, we'll find out," Gruden said.

"It could be a few weeks, it could be the end of the season. We don't know for sure. I'll just sit here and wait until I'm told the extent of this injury."

Griese was injured late in the second quarter when Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas rolled into his left leg. The Bucs sent a cart onto the field, but the quarterback refused a ride and limped to the sideline and later into the locker room. Griese was taken to a hospital for tests and had another MRI performed Oct. 17.

The Bucs have a bye this week, but will begin preparing third-year pro Chris Simms as the starter and explore the prospect of signing a veteran quarterback. Simms relieved Griese against Miami and completed 6 of 10 passes for 69 yards while leading two scoring drives.

Gruden said it could be a couple of days before a determination is made on Griese, who took over the starting job last season when Simms was hurt during his first pro start.

Griese was not immediately available for comment.

"He's distraught, he's nervous, he's uptight about this, as he should be. ... He's put a lot into this. We're just hoping he can come through this better than maybe we anticipate," Gruden said.

Griese was 12 of 16 for 120 yards and one touchdown Sunday and left with Tampa Bay leading 10-3. He's 112 of 174 for 1,136 yards, seven TDs and seven interceptions this season. He is ranked 20th in passer rating.

The bye comes at a good time for the Bucs, who also have several other players nursing injuries, including rookie running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams. Williams has missed the past two games because of a sprained left foot.

"This is an injury that we've done the right thing with," Gruden said. "We're going to see it through."

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