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Taylor's calf injury could have ended his career if not treated swiftly

ASHBURN, Va. -- Jason Taylor didn't understand why there was such a rush to get him into the operating room. True, his leg did feel a bit funny, but surely there was time for a second opinion.

The Washington Redskins defensive end now knows his career might have been over if he had waited much longer.

Sporting crutches and an Ace bandage, Taylor spoke Wednesday for the first time about the emergency procedure that followed Sunday's 24-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Taylor was kicked in the calf in the second quarter of the game but didn't think it was anything serious until pain and numbness set in later that night.

At 3 a.m., he went to Virginia Hospital Center, where a mass of blood near his ankle was diagnosed as compartmental syndrome.

"I was a little scared about that and didn't quite understand why it had to be done so suddenly," Taylor said. "I kept telling the doctor, 'Let's wait until the sun comes up and let me talk to some people,' and they kept stressing how important it was to get it done right away."

At about 5 a.m., Taylor spoke to Dr. James Andrews, the Redskins team surgeon.

"He told me to get off the phone and let's do it, so it can be done right away," Taylor said.

Doctors drained the blood in a 20-minute operation. The pressing medical issue was solved, but Taylor will be sidelined for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys -- and possibly longer -- while he recuperates.

"It's all a matter of how well the body responds to the surgery and the nerve issue and all that. Day-to-day for me," Taylor said. "In a perfect world I'd play Sunday, but it would be tough to get off crutches on Wednesday and tee it up. I want to play as soon as I can. I don't know. ... It could be a week or a couple months. You never know."

Doctors cut a 6-inch incision into Taylor's calf to drain blood that, left untreated, might have led to nerve or tissue damage and even paralysis, limb loss or death. Redskins trainer Bubba Tyer said it was the first such injury he's had in his 37 seasons with the Redskins. Tyer said there were five similar injuries league-wide in the past six to eight years.

Taylor continued to play after he was hurt and finished the game with three tipped passes. The injury will end his consecutive games streak at 133, the seventh longest among active players, and will keep the "Dancing With the Stars" virtuoso off his feet.

"I'm a hard head," he said. "I wanted to wait and wanted to let God try to heal it up some. I guess sometimes you got to help Him out. I wanted to wait a couple hours but they said 'You don't have a couple hours. You should have done it an hour ago.' Time was of the essence and we needed to hurry it up and do it right away."

Notes: TE Mike Sellers (thigh) and RT Stephon Heyer (shoulder) didn't practice. ... LB Johnny Baldwin was signed to the practice squad and LB Curtis Gatewood released.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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