A doctor for the winless St. Louis Cardinals said that some of the National Football League team's star players are refusing to play with relatively minor injuries.
"It's becoming a bad situation," said Dr. Jordan Ginsburg, the team's orthopedic specialist. "There are some guys who should be playing but aren't."
Wide receiver Roy Green is apparently the main target of Ginsburg's charge. Green underwent ankle surgery Monday against the doctor's advice.
Green had a calcium deposit removed from his left ankle. The half-hour operation was performed at Hughston Clinic in Columbus, Ga., and Green is expected to be sidelined for at least four weeks.
Ginsburg said that Green had had the deposit for about four years, and that it did not require immediate surgery. He called the operation untimely.
Ginsburg was also upset that some Cardinals had said that he had encouraged players to play even though they were injured.
"Roy Green is trying to present himself as a knight in shining armor, and me as Simon Legree," Ginsburg said. "I'm here to protect the players. I have never administered an illegal injection, or concealed an injury from a player."
The doctor called football a violent sport and said that players should expect to play with some pain.
Ginsburg linked the reluctance to play with pain to the team's recent records. The Cardinals are 0-3 this season and were 5-11 last year.