Philadelphia defensive end Mike Mamula underwent reconstructive surgery on his right knee early Saturday after the Eagles' exhibition game against Pittsburgh Friday night.
Dr. Arthur Bartolozzi, the team orthopedist who performed the surgery, said Mamula will need six to nine months to heal. The lineman tore his anterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus cartilage.
"It's devastating, no question about it," Eagles coach Ray Rhodes said. "We were hoping for him to have a big season this year."
"We were counting on Mike and Hugh (Douglas) to give us two guys coming off the corners and really putting pressure on quarterbacks."
Safety Matt Stevens also sustained a right knee injury Friday night, with the team saying results of his examinations will be available Sunday.
Midway through the first quarter, Mamula was trying to track down Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart from his left end position when he ran into Pittsburgh tackle Jamain Stephens, causing his right knee to buckle. Mamula did not get up right away and was helped from the field.
The 6-4, 252-pound Mamula overcame a slow start last season before finishing with three sacks in the last four games. He totaled four for the season, his career low. Mamula also made 71 tackles, including a career-high nine against San Francisco November 10.
Mamula, a collegiate linebacker, was Philadelphia's first-round pick in the 1995 draft. He spent most of last year at right end, but also played on the left side, where he was expected to start this season.
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