View Full Version : Lonnie Paxton Hurt

12-09-2003, 07:08 AM
Lonnie Paxton tore a ligament in his knee on Sunday. Its not clear yet if the Pats are going to shelve him for the year or if he can snap with the injury. Here's the article from Tueday's Globe:

Injury could KO Paxton
Patriots facing a snap decision

By Michael Smith, Globe Staff, 12/9/2003

FOXBOROUGH -- The past week has been anything but special for the Patriots' special teams, especially kicker Adam Vinatieri.

A week ago the Patriots waived punter Ken Walter, Vinatieri's holder since October 2001, replacing him with rookie punter Brooks Barnard and handing the holding duties to backup quarterback Damon Huard. As if adjusting to a new holder weren't enough to disturb Vinatieri's comfort zone, the Patriots may have lost long snapper Lonie Paxton, possibly for the season.

According to team and industry sources, an MRI yesterday revealed that Paxton tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 12-0 win over Miami. Paxton likely will require surgery but may postpone it until after the season. Depending on the severity of the injury, Paxton could continue snapping with the aid of a knee brace, which would limit both his protection and punt coverage ability.

The players were off yesterday, and efforts to reach Paxton were unsuccessful.

Offensive lineman Russ Hochstein is the backup long snapper. He never has snapped in a regular-season NFL game.

Paxton hurt himself blocking on Barnard's 10th punt, with 5 minutes 30 seconds to go in the game. Paxton limped to the sideline after the play but was waved back onto the field because a holding penalty required a rekick.

Yesterday, Paxton, coach Bill Belichick, and the team's training staff were discussing whether that would be Paxton's last snap of 2003. New England's 11th and final punt Sunday was a Tom Brady quick kick.

The Patriots have withstood injuries to several key players this season, but Paxton is different because of his unique on-field relationship with Vinatieri. Timing and cohesion among the snapper, holder, and placekicker are critical in field goal kicking. Paxton has snapped for every regular-season punt, extra-point attempt, and field goal attempt since joining the team as a rookie free agent in April 2000.


Belichick emphasized the importance of the relationship among kicker, holder, and snapper last week when asked why replacing Walter was such an important decision.

"There's a lot that goes into the kicking game," Belichick said. "The snapping, the holding, the punting, the placekicking, kicking off -- a lot of it's situational, a lot of it's technique, and a lot of it is very, very skillful. There's a lot to it. It's a lot more than leg strength."

It stands to reason that Vinatieri and Huard will need more than five days together to get in synch. Whatever issues they have would be compounded by a new long snapper.

Sunday, said Belichick, "was the first time that we've had, obviously, a new punter and a new holder in regular-season game conditions in a while. I think it should get better. I don't think it was perfect."

If the Patriots choose to end Paxton's season by placing him on injured reserve and entrust Hochstein with the snapping duties, a spot would become available on the 53-man roster for fullback Larry Centers, who has been rehabilitating a torn medial collateral ligament for two months and could be re-signed any day, according to team sources. Or the Patriots could bring in a long snapper and make room for Centers another way.

An AFC scout who has watched Hochstein snap in warmups said, "He did OK. From what I saw, it looked like he could do it in an emergency situation. I'm sure he could come in and do a decent job. But I'm not sure if he could do it for the rest of the season or long-term."

Like good punters, good long snappers aren't sitting around unemployed. Should the Patriots shut down Paxton, the free agent options include Sean McDermott, a former Texan and Buccaneer who snapped for the Dolphins the first half of this season; Aaron Graham, who spent last season with the Titans; Jody Littleton, a Bear for two games last year whom the Lions cut this preseason; and Don O'Leary, who passed through the Giants' long snapper turnstile last season.

There's also Trey Junkin, the 42-year-old infamous for his botched snap that cost the Giants their playoff game against the 49ers last year. Junkin is retired, though he's said he doesn't want that snap to be the last of his career.

12-09-2003, 07:11 AM
Wow and he came back in to snap after the injury. I saw him hobbling badly, and it didn't look good.. I expect they'll be getting Hochstien sp? ready for the duty as a torn lig, is nothing to mess with and very painfull. Please don't tell me the dreaded injury bug is trying to creep back in!:eek:

12-09-2003, 07:14 AM
The only fortunate that you can take from this is that Huard is not really used to Paxton as a snapper and is still getting used to holding. He should be able to adjust to Hochstein's snapping relatively quickly. I don't see this really affecting Vinatieri unless a snap hits him in the face mask!;)

12-09-2003, 09:29 AM
Yeah I saw Paxton hobbling off too but somebody told him to get back in there from the sidelines. Reluctantly he returned to snap for the punt. I sustained minor ligament damage in HS and was on major pain killers for 3 weeks. I still wince when I think of that snap, crackle, pop injury even though it was 27 years ago.

12-09-2003, 10:43 AM
I can't imagine sending a seriously injured player back on the field like that - that's definitely against Belichick's policy since the player can be more seriously injured. Belichick needs an explanation.

At least there are 3 weeks before the playoff's.

12-09-2003, 01:03 PM
Unfortunately, I am something of an expert when it comes to tearing ACL's. The first one hurt like hell -- intense pain -- and then I skied for the rest of the day, and played on it for nine more months before having surgery. If it is a clean tear with minimal or no bone bruising it hurts for about ten minutes, and half an hour later you would swear it was fine. Then you tweak it now and then and it makes you writhe on the ground in pain. The second one I tore didn't hurt that much at all but there was bruising to the bones in the knee, it swelled badly and I could NOT walk on it for weeks. That one was much worse.

It all depends on how the injury occurs. With a brace Paxton might be fine. The problem comes -- without an ACL -- when you plant your foot and pivot. The knee itself can pivot instead of the foot, and that tweaks or further injures the cartilage in the knee. That is where the pain comes from. A torn ligament only hurts briefly because the nerves are completely severed. The pivoting problem is much worse on hard surfaces or turf than on grass. A brace can't do much to prevent the knee from pivoting.

12-09-2003, 06:16 PM
I'm sure Belichick and Weis will come up with something if Paxton can't go.

12-09-2003, 06:20 PM
Originally posted by ramblings
I can't imagine sending a seriously injured player back on the field like that - that's definitely against Belichick's policy since the player can be more seriously injured. Belichick needs an explanation.

I don't think that anyone including Paxton knew the severity of the injury, he never made it off the field, but looked like he didn't want to go back to the huddle. I'm sure if they knew the nature of the injury, they would not have sent him back in there. As NR said there are different symptoms with different types of injuries. I injured a knee lig one time, but never knew it was more than a bruise for hours. When I bent down and couldn't get back up, I was clued in:D

12-09-2003, 07:40 PM
Originally posted by Hawg73
I'm sure Belichick and Weis will come up with something if Paxton can't go.


I just hope the other team doesn't sweep the leg...then we would be forced to kick from the crane position.