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AROUND THE LEAGUE

Harrington Undergoes Procedure to Fix Heart

December 18, 2002|From Associated Press

Detroit Lion quarterback Joey Harrington was released from the hospital Tuesday after undergoing a procedure to repair an abnormal heart rhythm.

Dr. Claudio Schuger, director of clinical cardiac electrophysiology at Henry Ford Hospital, said Harrington's heart is structurally sound.

"For all practical circumstances, Joey is healed," Schuger said.

On Monday, Schuger inserted an electrode catheter into the rookie quarterback's heart, destroying parts of the electrical pathway that caused the arrhythmia. Harrington chose to undergo the procedure rather than take lifelong medication.

"Medication is not the best option," Schuger said.

He noted medication's potential side effects, the possibility that it could affect an athlete's performance and the nuisance of taking medicine for life.

Harrington was taken to the hospital after having a rapid heartbeat in Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His heart raced to more than 200 beats per minute.

Harrington, 24, will need three to six weeks to heal, but can resume normal practice and off-season training after that.

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Tennessee Titan left tackle Brad Hopkins could miss as many as three weeks because of ligament damage in his right knee.

An MRI exam showed Hopkins injured the medial collateral ligament.

Coach Jeff Fisher said the team was concerned that Hopkins also hurt his anterior cruciate ligament late in the third quarter of the Titans' 24-7 victory over New England on Monday night. Hopkins was able to walk off the field by himself.

Fisher said when Hopkins returns depends on how quickly he regains stability in his knee and how he handles the soreness.

Jason Matthews is expected to start Sunday at Jacksonville.

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Morten Andersen, the second-leading scorer in NFL history, was put on injured reserve and will miss Kansas City's final two games. That ends Andersen's streak of consecutive games at 248, the NFL's second-longest and 34 short of Jim Marshall's league record.

The left-footed kicker will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee for cartilage damage.

He hurt the knee during warmups Oct. 6 at the New York Jets.

In other Chief news, NFL rushing leader Priest Holmes probably won't play on Sunday against San Diego because of a hip injury.

Coach Dick Vermeil said Tuesday it was "very doubtful" Holmes would play. Vermeil said Dr. Jon Browne, the Chiefs' team physician, had sent copies of the results of his MRI exam to consultants in New York as well as to another associate.

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