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Sanders' crash forces him to exit game

Sanders' crash forces him to exit game

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ST. LOUIS -- Reggie Sanders' spectacular October went crashing in a cloud of dust on the Busch Stadium warning track late in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday.

Sanders got up and left the game under his own power after his eighth-inning spill Thursday night, but the Cardinals left fielder's status is uncertain as the series heads to Houston tied at a game apiece.

Sanders suffered a lower back sprain that Cardinals trainer Barry Weinberg described as "mild to moderate" on the play. Weinberg also said Sanders showed some signs of being disoriented when he first arrived on the scene, but all indications are that Sanders did not suffer a concussion.

There's really only one prediction Weinberg could feel certain of as the team packed up to head to Houston.

"I think he's going to wake up pretty sore [Friday]," Weinberg said.

Tracking a ball hit by Houston's Adam Everett in the eighth inning, Sanders jumped and twisted in the air, just missed the catch and then came down hard on the dirt track in left field, smacking the back of his head on the ground and tumbling to the base of the fence.

"As I walked to the training room, the doctor described it as a train wreck," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "It's serious, [he] bumped his back, hit his head and he has some sore spots all over the body. I don't think he broke anything, but he's bruised quite a bit and we'll see how he feels."

As for Saturday's Game 3?

"It's hard to predict," Weinberg said. "We'll see."

La Russa wasn't particularly optimistic about Sanders' chances to bounce back for Game 3.

"I would say probably 50-50," La Russa said. "That's just a ballpark guess."

If Sanders loses any time at all, the Cardinals will be without their postseason offensive hero to this point.

Sanders entered the game with 12 postseason RBIs, including a two-run homer that set the tone for the Cardinals' Game 1 victory. He left it a little wobbly, which was understandable considering the violence with which he hit the warning track.

"I don't know, it's pretty hard to explain," Sanders said of the play. "I was going after the ball, trying to catch it, and before you know it, my feet got from under me and I ended up ... falling back and hitting my head."

Asked if he was dazed after the spill, Sanders said: "I don't know. It's hard to replay that."

Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds was the first to arrive at Sanders' side after retrieving the ball, and Edmonds indicated that Sanders was shaken up pretty good.

"He couldn't talk. He had no complaints, I just asked him if he was all right and he said, 'No,'" Edmonds said. "That's usually a pretty good sign that someone's a little dizzy. Usually you say yes and then you realize that you're hurt. But he said no right away."

Added Weinberg: "He has a slight headache. He was mildly disoriented, but he didn't lose consciousness."

Sore but lucid after the game, Sanders was optimistic about Game 3.

"Yeah, I'll be fine," he said.

Weinberg is reserving judgment until Sanders gets through the flight to Houston and receives treatment Friday. He knows the 37-year-old outfielder took a pretty severe spill, and that's not the same as if he were a 22-year-old outfielder who took a fall like that one.

"He's a pretty well-conditioned athlete," Weinberg said. "Then again, he's pretty old, too."

John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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