Talk about an injury jinx. The Cincinnati Bengals learned Sunday they have lost inside linebacker Steve Tovar for at least two weeks and possibly two months because of a broken bone in his left hand.
Tovar, a third-year player out of Ohio State who led the Bengals in tackles last season, had broken a different bone in the left hand June 15, which forced him to sit out the first two exhibition games. Then in the Lions' 20-13 loss to Detroit last Thursday, he broke another bone in his left hand, although the fracture wasn't detected until Sunday.
The Bengals also lost running back Ki-Jana Carter and backup quarterback David Klingler to injuries in Thursday's game. Carter tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and Klingler suffered a broken jaw.
Carter, holding slight hope that he could get by arthroscopic surgery and return before the end of the season, was expected to be examined today by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
Andrews says he won't render a decision on whether Carter will be sidelined the entire season until after the exam. Carter could have surgery as early as Tuesday.
The Bengals terminated the contract of eighth-year lineman Eric Moore on Sunday. He had signed a contract stipulating he must play in 65% of the downs to make $1.2 million. If he played in less than 40%, he'd make the minimum $178,000.
Pittsburgh linebacker Greg Lloyd has been fined $12,000 for his hit on Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre earlier this month. The fine, levied Friday, has been confirmed by league spokesman Joe Browne.
"The league office is trying to send a clear message that they're going to protect guys from hits like that," Packer Coach Mike Holmgren said. "The officials came around to different camps and showed film of hits just like that and said, 'This will not be tolerated this year.' "
On Aug. 13, in the Packers' 36-13 victory over the Steelers, Packer tight end Mike Bartrum missed a block on Lloyd, who blindsided Favre as he unloaded a pass and hit him on the jaw with the crown of his helmet. Favre sustained a concussion, but was hardly critical after hearing of the fine.
"That's a $12,000 hit," he said. "That's a lot of money. But it was a great hit. If he was on my team and put a hit on the quarterback like that, I'd be over there high-fiving him."
Favre returned to action Saturday, completing 13 of 20 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-17 loss to Indianapolis.
The exhibition game in Houston between the Oilers and San Diego Chargers on Saturday night that was canceled by NFL officials because of problems with the Astrodome's artificial surface could give the Oilers a loophole to accelerate their flight from Houston.
"I believe the Astrodome has a responsibility under the lease to have the field prepared to league rules and regulations, which it wasn't," Oiler general counsel Steve Underwood said after the NFL scrapped the game.
"So, yes, I suppose there could be a breach. But we're not making any decisions tonight whether the contract was breached."
The apparently unprecedented decision to cancel the game added another twist in the growing animosity between the Oilers and Astrodome USA, the parent company of the Houston Astros baseball team and manager of the Harris County-owned stadium.
A torn anterior cruciate ligament is expected to sideline starting center Dave Alexander of the New York Jets for the season. He suffered the injury to his right knee in Saturday's 32-31 loss to the New York Jets. . . . A possible serious injury to Miami linebacker Bryan Cox, suffered in the Dolphins' 27-13 victory over Washington Saturday at Miami, turned out to be only a sprained right knee.