Even on Crutches, Garcia Continues To Contribute

ALLEN PARK -- Jeff Garcia still has at least 3-4 weeks before he can even think about getting back reclaiming his role as the Lions backup quarterback but he is not letting his broken left fibula get in the way of making a contribution to the offense.

Garcia, who was signed as a free agent last spring to give the Lions an experienced backup to starting quarterback Joey Harrington, was with Harrington and coach Steve Mariucci on the sidelines in the season opener against Green Bay and it is expected he will be there again for game 2 Sunday in Chicago.

"We don't want guys on the sideline with crutches, right?" Mariucci said.

"Well, the quarterbacks, the quarterbacks coach, I - everybody - wanted him to be on the sidelines when you come off (the field) to discuss, to look at the photos, talk about the plan.

"So he just put a new cast on it, put a boot on it and was standing there without crutches. You know, he's a valuable guy on the sideline and the meeting room to give you some insights and thoughts, speaking from experience. He's good on the sideline."

Garcia suffered the broken bone and a severely sprained ankle in the Lions' preseason finale Sept. 2 at Buffalo and was told by doctors that he would require 6-8 weeks of recovery time.

Garcia personally set a five-week target date for his return and has let it be known he doesn't plan to sit idly by, making no contribution to the offense while the healing process occurs.

"I think the worst thing that I could do is to completely withdraw myself and feel sorry for myself because of the injury," he said last week. "I'm here to do a job still.

"I'm going to be involved as much as possible, because I think my eyes and ears can still be very helpful. I do have a lot of knowledge in the system, I've had a lot of success over the years within this system, and I think there are things that I can lend to these guys, even if it is just an ear to bounce things off of."

Because they expect Garcia to resume workouts in October, the Lions have not signed another backup quarterback. Rookie Dan Orlovsky, a fifth-round draft pick from Connecticut, is filling the backup role with wide receiver Kevin Johnson as the emergency, No. 3 quarterback.

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