Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Matt Leinart, already ruled out of Sunday's season finale against the Chargers, will get a second opinion on his injured left shoulder from acclaimed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
Despite telling reporters Sunday that his sprained throwing shoulder was not serious, Leinart will have Andrews look at the X-ray and MRI taken by the team. Andrews, who has a long history of working with professional athletes, will determine if he needs to see Leinart for further examination.
Leinart has been told by the team's medical staff that the injury was akin to a first-degree separation or second-degree sprain of the shoulder. A first-degree separation is considered the least damaging of the three-level standard for measuring that injury. It generally does not require surgery.
The hope is that the injury will have no long-term effect on Leinart, who has shown promise after starting the past 11 games.
Leinart was injured during a first-half sack after having completed nine of 13 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown in an eventual 26-20 victory for the Cardinals at San Francisco. Veteran Kurt Warner, who was Arizona's starter for the first four games of the season, finished after Leinart was hurt.
The news could have a moderate impact on the AFC playoff race even though Arizona (5-10) has already been eliminated and is expected to fire third-year coach Dennis Green. If Baltimore (12-3) beats Buffalo earlier in the day, San Diego (13-2) will need to win to lock up the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
The game would have been something of a homecoming for Leinart, who played at USC and grew up in Los Angeles, approximately two hours north of San Diego. Leinart was the No. 10 overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft this year after leading USC to a national championship and winning the Heisman Trophy in the 2004 season.
Leinart has had a relatively strong rookie season. He has completed 214 of 377 passes for 2,547 yards, 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for an overall rating of 74.0. After going winless in his first five games as a starter, Arizona has won four of its past six games.
- James Andrews