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Injury Threatens Michael Bennett’s Season

July 11, 2003

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) _ Michael Bennett said Wednesday he will miss the Minnesota Vikings’ training camp with a slow-healing foot injury that could also keep him out for the season.

``It’s tough. I was looking forward to being back to training camp,″ he told WCCO-TV of Minneapolis. ``I missed mini-camp. It really burned me to my stomach to sit around and watch the other guys practice.″

Bennett, who rushed for 1,296 yards last season and made the Pro Bowl, injured his left foot in March when he came down on it awkwardly while running on a treadmill. He had surgery a few weeks later.

The injury has been slow to heal, so Bennett said he would get an injection designed to accelerate bone growth in his foot. ``What that does is act like a super glue that will help the bone grow a little faster,″ he said.

If it doesn’t work, Bennett said, he will have foot surgery that will probably keep him out for the season.

Coach Mike Tice released a statement Wednesday expressing hope Bennett would be available for at least part of the season.

``I’m excited that he is going to undergo a medical procedure that may give him an opportunity to return at some point during the 2003 season,″ Tice said. ``Our first concern is for Michael’s well-being for the long term.

``This gives an opportunity for the rest of the backs on our team to do what every player wants, and that’s to compete.″

Candidates to fill in for Bennett are Doug Chapman, Moe Williams and this year’s fourth-round draft pick, Onterrio Smith of Oregon.

``Hopefully I will be able to make it back and you know, we can make that Super Bowl run,″ Bennett said.

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