Injured Cardinals' tight end Spach done for the season

Posted: January 13, 2009

PHOENIX - The Cardinals' running game suffered a blow yesterday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt announced that tight end Stephen Spach will miss the rest of the playoffs with a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last week against Carolina.

Spach tore his right ACL while making a block in the second half of Saturday's 33-13 victory.

Spach played 13 games for the Eagles in 2005, catching seven passes for 42 yards.

After being waived by the Patriots, Spach was signed by the Cardinals as a free agent Oct. 28 and became the starter against San Francisco on Nov. 10.

His blocking was a key to the team's improved running game, and he had a game-clinching 23-yard catch on a third-and-16 situation late in Arizona's 30-24 wild-card victory over Atlanta.

The injury leaves the team with two tight ends. Leonard Pope is still nursing a sore ankle, and former University of Delaware star Ben Patrick has battled a nagging knee injury.

"Spach has done a good job for us in the running game, but it's not going to change our scheme," Whisenhunt said. "We're very comfortable with Ben and Leonard in doing what we've been doing. They're healthier than they were at times this year when we've struggled, so it shouldn't be a big issue."

Whisenhunt said the team will sign another tight end this week. Jerame Tuman was released by the Cardinals on Dec. 24 and is a logical candidate.

Still hamstrung

There was little to report on the injured hamstring of Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin.

"Obviously, we're a week further along in the process of that hamstring getting better so we'll see if he'll be able to do something this week," Whisenhunt said.

Cardinals officials didn't expect to have anything definitive on Boldin's status before the end of the week - and perhaps not until game time on Sunday.

- Craig Morgan

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