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 HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -A.J. Schable was on his side and unable to move after taking a big hit to his head. He heard the crowd grow quiet as Jets trainers surrounded him and his teammates prayed.
``I was thinking, 'Oh, man, I'm done playing,''' the tight end recalled Monday after his first full practice since the scary incident on Thursday night. ``I was just thinking of the worst.''
Schable briefly lost feeling on the left side of his body when he and Cleveland offensive lineman Cliff Louis slammed into each other on a kickoff return with 12 minutes left in New York's 24-20 preseason victory.
``When I was laying there on the field, that's the most scared I've ever been,'' Schable said. ``Laying there for about a minute, I couldn't feel my left side. After the trainers came out, about 30 seconds later, I could start to get the feeling back. It's something I don't want to experience again.''
The 6-foot-4, 273-pound Schable was running downfield on the kickoff and attempting to make a tackle when he hit the 6-8, 315-pound Louis with a shoulder. Louis' helmet smacked into the right side of Schable's head.
``It was the first chance I had to do any contact since December of '06, so I was just real pumped up and I was the first one down there,'' Schable said. ``I ran into the guy and the next thing I know, I'm laying on my side and I couldn't move my left side. That's basically it. I hit him pretty hard. I had to pick the biggest guy, too.''
Schable, signed as a free agent in the offseason after previous stints with Arizona and Philadelphia, remained on the field in a curled position until trainers turned him on his back. He was then gently placed on a stretcher and the entire team went onto the field as Schable was immobilized. The tight end gave a thumbs-up with his left hand as he was being wheeled off the field.
It was eerily reminiscent of the scene when Buffalo's Kevin Everett was injured while making a tackle on a kickoff in the season opener against Denver last season. Everett was initially paralyzed from the neck down, but eventually regained many motor skills, including the ability to walk without assistance.
``My mom was watching the Arizona (Cardinals) game and she saw my name go across the bottom line, that I got carried off on a stretcher, so she was freaking out,'' he said. ``They taped it, so I'm going to have to watch it when I get a chance to, but it was kind of crazy.''
Schable was taken to a hospital, where he underwent a CT scan, and was released in time to rejoin the team for its flight back to New York early that morning.
``They were pretty happy to see me,'' he said. ``They said it scared them, too. They were just glad that I was all right.''
Schable wore an immobilizing collar around his neck that night and had an MRI taken Friday morning. He was back on the field Saturday and Sunday wearing a no-contact red jersey, but was a full participant Monday.
``I feel a lot better,'' he said. ``The neck's just a little stiff, but other than that, it feels pretty good to finally get out here.''
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