Lions running back Stewart to miss season

Associated Press

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions running back James Stewart will miss the season after separating his right shoulder in the final exhibition game.

Stewart was placed on injured reserve Tuesday by Detroit, which acquired Olandis Gary on the weekend to replace him.

Detroit's leading rusher the past three seasons was hurt during the preseason game against Buffalo.

Coach Steve Mariucci said the next day he hoped Stewart would return by the sixth week of the season. Tuesday's move eliminated that possibility.


Stewart, 31, spent five seasons with Jacksonville before joining Detroit in 2000. The Lions' running game was devastated by the sudden retirement of Barry Sanders just before training camp in 1999.

"The best thing for James and for the team is to put him on IR," Lions president Matt Millen said. "Looking at the injury, he is going to require surgery at some point in time. We have been told there is an 85 percent chance the thing would come out again.''

Within minutes of Stewart's injury, Millen was talking to Buffalo president Tom Donahoe about acquiring Gary, who now will carry the brunt of the team's rushing assignments. He rushed for 1,159 yards in 12 games as a rookie in 1999, but injuries have limited Gary to 455 yards in the past three seasons.

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