Originally created 10/06/01

Beuerlein to have more elbow surgery



DENVER -- Steve Beuerlein's comeback attempt from an elbow injury is over, for now. The Denver Broncos quarterback was placed on injured reserve Friday, and will have more surgery, probably next week.

To take Beuerlein's spot on the roster, the Broncos signed tight end Matt Dominguez, who had been on their practice squad. Tight end Austin Wheatley was added to the practice squad.

"We didn't feel Steve would be able to go probably until the 10th or 11th week, at best," Denver coach Mike Shanahan said Friday. "And the chances are he would still have to have surgery.

"So he's going to have surgery now. It will be about a three-month recovery time, and he should be able to start throwing and be back to normal by the time we start our minicamps and offseason conditioning program."

Shanahan said doctors felt if Beuerlein started throwing hard again, he might suffer another in a series of setbacks.

The upcoming surgery will repair a slightly torn tendon in the elbow.

"We felt it was in his and the team's best interests to not leave a roster spot occupied by somebody whose chances were not very good to play," Shanahan said.

Beuerlein, 36, had shoulder and elbow surgery after throwing for 3,730 yards for the Carolina Panthers last season.

Released by the Panthers, he signed with Denver and was expected to compete with Gus Frerotte for the Broncos' backup quarterback job behind Brian Griese.

Three weeks into training camp, an MRI exam disclosed the tendon injury, which apparently is unrelated to his previous injury.

He took three weeks off, but discomfort in the elbow continued. Beuerlein didn't play in either the four preseason games or in the first three regular-season games.

Beuerlein, who went to the Pro Bowl in 1999 after passing for 4,436 yards and 36 touchdowns, said he wasn't surprised that surgery will be required.

"Just the way things were going and the fact that it wasn't making noticeable improvement on a regular basis, I felt like it was a possibility," he said. "Back in training camp we were talking about surgery. I'm just grateful they gave me a chance to see if I could get it right for this year.

"Unfortunately, every time I'd make a little bit of progress, I'd push a little harder and would set myself back. I've got a slight tear in there that I just haven't been able to let heal. The only way to really tell if it would heal on its own is to give it six to eight weeks, doing nothing. Obviously, we don't have that luxury. I'm holding a roster spot. This makes sense."

Beuerlein's previous surgery was on his elbow ligament, and he said the latest operation won't be nearly as involved.

"There's no doubt in anybody's mind that if there's nothing more than what we expect to find in there, that within three months I'll be back throwing again, and come minicamps next year I'll be 100 percent ready to roll," he said.