Originally created 11/26/03

Season ends for Atlanta's leading rusher

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Warrick Dunn's season ended Tuesday when the Atlanta Falcons placed their leading rusher on injured reserve with a torn ligament in his left foot.

Dunn had to be carried off the field early in the fourth quarter of the Falcons' 38-31 loss to Tennessee on Sunday. Coach Dan Reeves said Monday that Dunn initially got hurt during his 162-yard rushing effort in a 23-20 overtime loss at New Orleans the previous week.

Atlanta (2-9) has lost two straight and nine of 10 games as it prepares to visit Houston (4-7) this Sunday. T.J. Duckett will replace Dunn as the starter.

Pro Bowl quarterback Michael Vick has missed the entire season after fracturing his right fibula. The Falcons placed outside linebackers Sam Rogers and Will Overstreet on injured reserve in October.

Dunn has never been placed on injured reserve in his seven-year career. His injury is similar to what Atlanta linebacker Keith Brooking endured three years ago - a ligament tear at the base of his toes. The team doesn't know whether Dunn, like Brooking, will need surgery.

Dunn, in the second season of a six-year, $28.5 million contract he signed after leaving Tampa Bay as a free agent, had 672 yards rushing, 336 yards receiving and scored five touchdowns in 11 games this year.

The Falcons are likely to re-sign fullback George Layne to fill Dunn's spot on the 53-man roster. They cut Layne, who spent two weeks on Carolina's practice squad, at the end of preseason three months ago.


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