Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, August 18, 1999

N. F. L. _ H A W A I I

Ma‘afala out with
ankle injury

The former St. Louis School star
was hurt during drills at the
Pittsburgh Steelers' camp

By Pat Bigold


Running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala has been sidelined for up to three weeks with a high ankle injury suffered yesterday in a "freak accident" during a Pittsburgh Steelers drill.

"A 'D' lineman fell on it," said the former St. Louis School star by phone this morning before going to a team meeting.

"He was coming off a block and he tackled me, even though you're not supposed to tackle in the drill. You're supposed to hold up the runner."

Fuamatu-Ma'afala said he thinks the lineman was 6-foot-3, 295-pound rookie defensive end Ernie Brown of Syracuse.

"Somebody rolled up the back of his ankle," said Steelers running backs coach Dick Hoak this morning.

'He can't practice with us
so there's nothing he can do. We'll
just have to wait and see how
soon he can come back.'

Dick Hoak



Asked where this puts the 5-11, 250-pound Fuamatu-Ma'afala in the scheme of things for the Steelers less than a month before the regular season opener at Cleveland, Hoke said it's impossible to tell.

"He can't practice with us so there's nothing he can do," he said. "We'll just have to wait and see how soon he can come back."

Fuamatu-Ma'afala expressed his frustration.

"It's just one of those freak things, but it's hard because I've been getting hurt all my career," he said.

"They want me in a cast. They want me to lay off it for a good week."

Leaving Utah as a junior to be picked in the sixth round of the 1998 NFL draft, he played in 12 games last year for the Steelers, scoring three touchdowns. He was the third-down back.

But late in the season, after scoring touchdowns on consecutive Sundays against Tennessee and Green Bay, he suffered a hamstring injury to his left leg.

Fuamatu-Ma'afala is coming off a game against Chicago in which he made a key punt block that led to a go ahead Steelers touchdown.

He has been competing with Amos Zeroue and Richard Huntley for the right to start while Pro Bowler Jerome Bettis recovers from knee surgery.

The Steelers travel to Carolina Friday for their second exhibition game.

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