Steelers place Parker on injured reserve

PITTSBURGH -- Willie Parker, the NFL's leading rusher when he broke his right leg Thursday night in St. Louis, was officially lost for the season when the Pittsburgh Steelers placed him on the injured reserve list Monday.

Parker underwent surgery on his broken fibula, but is expected to return next season, coach Mike Tomlin said.

To replace Parker on their roster, the Steelers re-signed Verron Haynes, primarily a third down back for them from 2002-06. He missed the second half of the 2006 season with a knee injury and was cut by Pittsburgh before the season began.

Parker's injury likely cost him a chance to be the Steelers' first NFL rushing champion in 61 years, or since Bill Dudley in 1946. Parker was hurt making on a cut on his first and only carry during Pittsburgh's 41-24 victory in St. Louis.

Parker led San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson 1,316 yards to 1,311 yards, but Tomlinson had games remaining Monday night against Denver and Sunday against Oakland.

Four other running backs were within 114 yards of Parker's lead.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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