Cards' Walz '98 out for season

by Lou Scerra | 11/17/99 6:00am

Should you go for one or two? It is traditionally one of the most difficult decisions to be made on Sunday and, consequently, the most scrutinized on Monday morning.

Rarely is the team that benefited from a wrong decision unhappy about it come Monday. But, the Arizona Cardinals have reason for such sadness as starting right outside linebacker and Big Green alum Zack Walz '98 tore ligaments in his knee on a fourth-quarter play in a win against the Detroit Lions and was declared out for the season on Monday.

A magnetic resonance imaging done by the Cardinals' team orthopedist showed that Walz tore his anterior cruciate ligament as well as lateral meniscus cartilage.

On that fateful play, Walz jumped in the air and landed awkwardly on his left knee. The Lions did not convert the two-point conversion at that point in the fourth quarter.

Later on, the Lions were down 23-19 and later drove the ball down to the Arizona 11-yard line at which time they would have attempted a game-tying field goal had they kicked the extra point. Instead, they failed to get into the end zone and Arizona won the game but lost Walz.

Even Walz questioned the decision of Detroit head coach Bobby Ross, reportedly asking while being examined why the Lions had to go for two. He commented to reporters after the contest that if Ross had decided to kick that the injury probably would not have happened to him.

The Cardinals have said that he will undergo reconstructive surgery when the knee's swelling has gone down.

While the injury traditionally keeps players off the field for a year or more, the sixth round draft pick a year ago told reporters after the game that he is confident he will return.

"I'll be back sooner than [training camp,]" he said. "I'll be fine. I've overcome a lot before. I'm confident that I will be ready to go again."

Despite being the smallest starting outside linebacker in the NFL listed at 215 pounds, Walz has made his sophomore season a breakout year. He was sixth on the Cardinals with 48 tackles and has also recorded one sack and played "very well" on defense and special teams according to Arizona head coach Vince Tobin.

At Dartmouth, the three-time All-Ivy first team selection was known for his intensity on the defensive side of the ball which he brought to Arizona in winning the starting job this preseason. The man he beat out, Patrick Sapp, started in the Cardinals' final regular season game a year ago as well as their two postseason contests.