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After struggling in return, Shockey rips Saints over injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jeremy Shockey was hurting, frustrated and angry after a miserable return to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday following hernia surgery.

Height: 6-5

Weight: 251

College: Miami

Experience: 7

Shockey questioned how the team has handled his injury and was unsure if he'll play next week in London.

The four-time Pro Bowl tight end, who had missed the past three games with a sports hernia, practiced last week and was cleared to play. But on the first play of Carolina's 30-7 win, Shockey said he "did the splits" and felt pain.

"I feel a spot in my leg that wasn't there before," said Shockey, who indicated he was hopeful he only dug up scar tissue and did not suffer more damage.

Shockey was clearly slowed by the injury. Later, after a catch, Shockey had the ball stripped by Julius Peppers and Carolina recovered. It led to the Panthers' go-ahead touchdown in a rout that left Shockey in a foul mood despite leading the team with five catches for 50 yards.

"I had a fumble that hurt the team. I missed a backside cutoff block," Shockey said. "That's on me, 14 points I felt like I gave up today, not because of effort, but just because physically I'm not healthy."

Shockey said he may have come back too soon from the surgery, and also indicated the Saints erred by misdiagnosing him in training camp.

"I'm worried that this thing could have been taken care of in camp, like it should have been," said Shockey, who the Saints acquired from the New York Giants in July for two draft picks. "If it wasn't misdiagnosed in camp like it was there'd have been no problems. ... Next time I know. When I get hurt I'll get three or four opinions besides just the team's."

Shockey underwent surgery four weeks ago, and had practiced without limitation the week before facing the Panthers. In contrast, Philadelphia Eagles receiver Kevin Curtis had hernia surgery in August and has yet to play this season.

"It's not a three-to-six-week recovery time," said Shockey, who alluded to Curtis. "It's really a five-to-seven-week."

Shockey's injury concerns were part of a horrible day for the Saints' offense, which was held to seven points by Carolina and watched running back Reggie Bush and center Jonathan Goodwin leave with left knee injuries.

Shockey said he would know more about his status Monday.

"I want to help this team win that brought me here," Shockey said. "I'm just disappointed in myself. I'm making plays and everything, but I'm just not healthy."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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