Saints' McKenzie suffers fractured kneecap in loss

ATLANTA -- New Orleans cornerback Mike McKenzie suffered a fractured right kneecap on Sunday, forcing him to contemplate another long rehabilitation less than one year after having reconstructive surgery on the same knee.

McKenzie was carted off the field Sunday after suffering the injury while defending a third-down pass to Michael Jenkins.

"I hope I get credit for that (tackle)," McKenzie said, forcing a smile while leaning on crutches after the game.

McKenzie said he would return to Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham after the swelling goes down in his knee. Andrews performed the surgery to repair the torn right anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus after McKenzie was hurt in the Saints' 15th game against Philadelphia.

McKenzie, a 10-year veteran, said he was told this rehab could take three to six months.

"It's real disappointing," said Saints coach Sean Payton. "His (last) rehab process was very long and tedious. I'm disappointed for him and I'm sure the rest of his teammates feel the same way. ... Certainly, it's a blow to our defense. We've just got to get him healthy and get him fixed."

When asked if the second serious injury to his knee in less than a year could end his career, McKenzie said "I haven't gotten that far. ... I seriously doubt that."

The 32-year-old McKenzie said he suffered the injury when his knee hit the turf.

"It would be a little easier to take if I got rolled up on," he said. "This is the second time it just got caused by the turf.

"That turf was pretty tough today. ... As soon as my knee hit directly on that turf, I felt it break."

McKenzie missed the season opener while still recovering from last season's knee injury. He played in seven games, including six starts, and entered Week 10 with 23 tackles and one interception. He has 27 career interceptions.

Payton reported other injuries: tight end Jeremy Shockey aggravated an ankle sprain, offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb left the game with a calf injury, and fullback Mike Karney suffered a sprained MCL ligament in his right knee.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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