NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Saints running back Deuce McAllister will miss the rest of the NFL season after tearing a knee ligament.
McAllister said an MRI exam Tuesday confirmed his worst fears: He tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in Monday night's 31-14 loss to Tennessee.
``I didn't want to believe, but just taking that walk to the locker room you could feel it just kind of giving way a little bit,'' he said.
`And that was just kind of reminiscent of how the other one felt,'' he added, referring to a 2005 injury.
The latest injury occurred when McAllister landed awkwardly after catching a short pass from Drew Brees in the second quarter Monday night.
McAllister said there was also some damage to his medial collateral ligament.
Five games into the 2005 season, McAllister tore his right ACL during a run in Green Bay. After reconstructive surgery, he returned to rush for 1,057 yards in 2006, helping the Saints to the NFC South title and starring in their playoff victory over Philadelphia.
Now, for the second time in three seasons, McAllister needs reconstructive knee surgery, to be followed by the long, painful rehabilitation that will likely last until close to when 2008 training camp begins.
It's a potentially devastating blow to the Saints, who are 0-3 and in desperate need of a victory to have any hope of rallying back into postseason contention.
Meanwhile, the 28-year-old McAllister can only hope he can come back again and regain the form that made him the Saints' all-time leading rusher with 5,678 yards and 44 touchdowns.
``Obviously, the questions: Will you ever be the same? Will you ever be the back that you once were? Those are the different thoughts that obviously run through your mind as a player,'' McAllister said. ``We'll see how the surgery goes and we'll go from there.''

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