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Hobbled Taylor still manages to harass

Submitted by: Jason Cole - The Miami Herald
09-23-2002

Coutesy of Jason Cole - The Miami Herald

Not even a hobbled knee could keep Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor from finally getting to the frustrating target that is New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde. Despite an injury that might have kept most players off the field, Taylor continued on the way to his best overall game of the young season, helping the Dolphins to a 30-3 victory over the Jets on Sunday at Pro Player Stadium.Taylor tied for the team lead in tackles with six, broke up two passes, stopped one running play for a 4-yard loss and finished the day with a sack of Testaverde, stripping the ball and recovering it himself.

Not bad for a guy who sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in the first quarter and had to have the knee braced for the remainder of the game. Dolphins trainer Kevin O'Neill said injury the was between a Grade 1 and Grade 2, in technical terms. That is only a partial tear of the ligament. A Grade 3 sprain is the worst.

''I'm a little surprised he could finish,'' O'Neill said. ``Pretty impressive.'' Said Taylor with a grin: ``Hey, it's the Jets.''

Taylor will have a magnetic resonance imaging exam today. Grade 2 MCL sprains can often take between two and four weeks to heal. However, Taylor has shown in the past a high threshold of pain, playing with injured knee ligaments and dislocated fingers.

The good side of an MCL sprain is that the ligament doesn't require surgery to repair, even when it is fully torn, unlike a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament.

As for Sunday's game, what Taylor helped provide was some tonic to cure the eight-game losing streak the Dolphins were suffering to the Jets.

Taylor harassed Testaverde almost from beginning to end. On New York's second play of the game, Taylor came from the back side to deflect a pass intended for running back Curtis Martin.

In the previous six games Testaverde played against the Dolphins, Miami sacked him only three times.

''Frustrating, yeah. That's a good way put it,'' Taylor said of trying to get to Testaverde.

"He's been quick with it, like he's got eyes in the back of his head.''

But at age 38, Testaverde's ability to make quick decisions seems to be fading. The Dolphins sacked him three times and intercepted him twice.

''Hey, anything we can do to get him off his game, we'll take it,'' Taylor said.
     
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