Columbus Lions coach Jason Gibson sat nervously in a doctor’s waiting room this morning expecting the worst. Instead, the news was about as good as it could have been.
Lions fullback Richard Fitzhugh and defensive lineman Mike Berry were cleared by doctors Tuesday morning with only minor injuries, not the severe conditions Gibson thought would threaten his lineup less than a week away from the American Indoor Football Association playoffs.
“I was real worried this morning,” Gibson said Tuesday before the team’s film session. “But everything checked out OK for us.”
Fitzhugh tweaked his right knee during Saturday’s regular-season finale at Fayetteville. Doctors said it was hyperextended.
Berry, who Gibson believed tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), was diagnosed with a less-worrisome bruised knee.
The Lions practice tonight and Thursday, break for two days and will then practice a final time on Sunday, the day before they host the Guard in a first-round playoff game. Fitzhugh and Berry will be eased in leading up to the game.
“We’ll just have to take it slow with (Fitzhugh and Berry),” Gibson said. “We’ll have to see what they’re able to do. We want everyone healthy.”
Fitzhugh’s 389 yards rushing is the second-best total in the league. He averages 4.2 yards per carry and has 16 rushing touchdowns this season.
Berry, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound anchor on the defensive line, is tied for second in the league in sacks (9.5) and leads the league in solo tackles for a loss (12).