GADSDEN TO GIVE IT A GO

After getting a second opinion on his injured wrist, wide receiver Oronde Gadsden has decided to see if he can play despite ligament damage instead of immediately having surgery.

Gadsden flew to Dallas this week, and doctors there confirmed he did not need surgery at this time but he did have ligament damage in his left wrist.

Gadsden still has some swelling in his wrist and hasn't practiced all week.

"It's going to be a while before we have a definite decision," Gadsden said Thursday. "I'm going to try to play it out, go out there and see what I can do. There's a lot that goes into making a decision like this."

If and when Gadsden opts for surgery, he would be looking at a three- or four-month recovery period, which means he would miss the rest of the season.

Another factor in any decision Gadsden makes is the fact he's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. Why is that a big deal? Well, if Gadsden waits until after the end of the season to have surgery, that means he wouldn't be 100 percent until after the start of the free agency signing period and it wouldn't do much for his bargaining power.

"If I was in a different position I cold make a quicker decision," Gadsden said. "Maybe if I played on the line I could go out there and play with it. But because I actually have to catch the ball and deal with handling the ball a lot, they have to make a brace that's good enough for me to be able to play. That factors into the situation. I have to catch the ball. That's the main concern.

"Even if I made a decision today, it's still too swollen for anybody to know. Hopefully, by tomorrow or Saturday the swelling will go down and I'll go out there and see if I can put it together."

Gadsden has played with pain before. He underwent shoulder surgery following the 2001 season and has played with a bad toe for a while.

So toughness is not an issue. The success of the Dolphins and their prospects for a great season is an issue. So is Gadsden's next contract.

But ultimately, it may come down simply to whether Gadsden can play with the injury.

"I've got options," he said. "And that's always good. Like I said, for me to make the decision one way or the other, it definitely is up to me and how I feel. Maybe two years ago I would have made another decision, but being married with a family, that weighs heavily. I've also got teammates and I have a good thing going here with the team.

"I definitely don't want to make a hasty decision and do something I would regret. From a medical standpoint, it's swollen. When the swelling subsides and goes down, I can make a better decision. Given the aggressive treatment, I'm going to go out there and see what I can do. I'll assess all of the information after that."

Gadsden, who was injured while making a catch in the third quarter of Sunday's victory at Denver, has been having ice treatment around the clock.

"I know where we are as a team," Gadsden said. "I don't know when we'll get back to this situation, so I want to give it my best shot."


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