Stafon Johnson has a game ball from his NFL debut. He also had his dislocated right ankle repaired, and Tennessee Titans Coach Jeff Fisher isn't ready to say that the running back's season is over.
On Sunday, Johnson posted on his Twitter account that he was fresh out of surgery. The former USC running back, whose senior season was ended last September when a barbell crushed his neck and larynx, leaving him to learn how to talk again and trying to play his way into the NFL as an undrafted free agent, had promised before surgery that he would be back better than before.
Fisher said a couple of hours later that doctors "got it all put back together."
The coach was hesitant to share the extent of Johnson's injury but said the rookie also broke his fibula. Asked if the injury means Johnson's season will be ended by the Titans putting him on injured reserve, Fisher said that was hard to say.
"This could be eight to 12 weeks. We just don't know," Fisher said.
Johnson's injury in a 20-18 loss at Seattle on Saturday was so gruesome that Fisher said he thought the rookie's shoe had come off and was being held on by loose tape. Johnson had just made a catch on the final play of the third quarter when Kam Chancellor hit him high and spun him around, landing on his right leg.
Johnson stood up, then started pointing down at his foot before being surrounded by trainers and doctors.
"That kind of gives you a sense of how intense the game is and how the emotions are going and the contact you get caught up, and you don't know," Fisher said.
49ers look good
Rookie Anthony Dixon carried the ball 21 times for 100 yards and a score as the San Francisco 49ers dominated the Indianapolis Colts, 37-17, at Indianapolis in the preseason opener for each club.
Alex Smith completed three of nine passes for 37 yards and had a pass intercepted for the 49ers, who are coming off an 8-8 season. David Carr connected on nine of 11 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Michael Robinson rushed for a TD and Tony Curtis caught a touchdown pass for San Francisco, which recorded four interceptions. Reggie Smith returned a pick 91 yards for a touchdown.
Peyton Manning connected on eight of 10 passes for 91 yards for the Colts.
Tebow scores in debut
Fans booed. Flashes went off. Tim Tebow had arrived in the NFL.
With a much better haircut and a bruising touchdown, no less.
The rookie quarterback from Florida made his first preseason appearance, and got into the end zone on the final play of a 33-24 loss to the host Cincinnati Bengals.
Tebow completed eight of 13 passes for 105 yards in the second half, with most of the completions and yards coming on dump-offs during the closing drive against a soft defense. On the game's final play, Tebow scrambled seven yards for a touchdown, running over safety Kyries Hebert to score — a power move he used so many times in college.
Kyle Orton was impressive in his preseason debut, throwing two touchdown passes in three series and reminding Broncos fans that he's the one running the offense if not selling the most jerseys.
Carson Palmer got plenty of time to throw for the Bengals and went 12 for 15 for 105 yards in three series, leading the Bengals to one touchdown.
Terrell Owens caught four passes for 23 yards.
Houston Texans Coach Gary Kubiak said rookie running back Ben Tate will need surgery after suffering a "pretty severe" ankle injury Saturday in Arizona. The 5-foot-11, 211-pound Tate was hurt in the third quarter of the Texans' 19-16 loss to the Cardinals. Tate was the Texans' second-round draft pick out of Auburn.
New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton said the team is looking for a replacement for running back Lynell Hamilton, who suffered a torn knee ligament Wednesday in a joint practice with the New England Patriots. Hamilton's injury left the Saints with two experienced running backs, Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush.
Philadelphia Eagles center Jamaal Jackson and guard Todd Herremans were taken off the physically unable to perform list. Jackson has been trying to come back from a torn knee ligament, an injury suffered late last season, and Herremans has been dealing with a sore foot.