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Miami's Culpepper has more surgery on knee

DAVIE, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2006) -- Dolphins quarterback Daunte Culpepper underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to remove a piece of cartilage that has hampered his recovery from reconstructive surgery a year ago.

The problem was discovered when Culpepper was examined Nov. 29 by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

"Behind his kneecap there was a little piece of articular cartilage that was causing some catching," coach Nick Saban said. "That's what was causing the problem.

"That's why we wanted to get this evaluated. We all feel much better that there's a solution to what wasn't a serious issue, but it was an issue that was holding him back some."

Culpepper will remain on the active roster, at least for now, so there remains a chance he'll play again this season.

Culpepper underwent major knee surgery in November 2005. He returned to the field more quickly than expected and played in Miami's first four games this year, but with his mobility hampered, he was sacked 21 times.

He was then pulled from the lineup so he could focus on rehabilitation. Culpepper has since practiced on a limited basis, and when he last spoke to reporters two weeks ago, he said he still felt sharp pain in his right knee when he pushed off.

Culpepper last played on Oct. 1. With five regular-season games remaining and Culpepper facing recovery from another operation, Saban declined to speculate on the chances he'll play again this year.

"This is not a real serious-type thing," Saban said. "I'm sure Daunte's attitude will continue to be real positive about trying to do everything he can do to get healthy and be 100 percent so he can play like Daunte Culpepper is capable of playing."

Culpepper's acquisition from Minnesota in March for a second-round draft pick has been derided as the NFL's worst offseason move. The Dolphins went 1-3 with Culpepper as the starter, and they've won their past four games with Joey Harrington at quarterback to improve to 5-6.

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