Joe Montana will wait until the end of the week before deciding whether to undergo season-ending -- and possibly career-ending -- surgery on his ailing right elbow.
The 35-year-old San Francisco 49ers quarterback experienced a flare-up of elbow pain Saturday during a brief workout, and will undergo further evaluation during the week before deciding if the only possible remedy is surgery.
"We are proceeding with our original approach to this problem, which was discussed [Sept. 9] . . . what I said then was, 'If rest and rehabilitation failed to solve Joe's elbow problem, the next alternative might be surgery,' " Dr. Michael Dillingham, the 49ers' team physician, said.
Montana will not throw this week, 49ers coach George Seifert said, and will not be activated for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. Montana was on injured reserve the first four weeks of the season and is eligible to be activated.
"I don't know what the situation is for sure," Seifert said. "Until I do know, I can't comment. [Playing the rest of the season without Montana] is a possibility."
* DOLPHINS: Miami, thin at several positions because of injuries, is out of Pro Bowl linebackers.
The Dolphins learned that inside linebacker John Offerdahl, a gem in an otherwise lackluster defense, will miss the rest of the season with ligament damage to his left knee. Offerdahl was hurt during Sunday's 20-10 victory at New England.
The diagnosis was slightly better for guard Keith Sims, who also sustained a knee injury. Sims will be sidelined for about six
weeks with torn cartilage.
* SEAHAWKS: Quarterback Dave Krieg practiced for the first time since fracturing a thumb five weeks ago. But coach Chuck Knox said Jeff Kemp remains his starting quarterback.
Krieg, the team's full-time starter since 1983, is eligible to come off injured reserve now and there is a remote possibility he could play in Sunday night's game against the Raiders, offensive coordinator John Becker said.
* STEELERS: Bubby Brister sprained his left knee in the second quarter of Pittsburgh's 21-3 victory over the Colts and will be examined today.
* BUCCANEERS: A thumbs-down injury report on quarterback Vinny Testaverde has forced coach Richard Williamson to make Chris Chandler the starter, marking the fourth time in four games the team has made a change at the position.
Testaverde will be unavailable for between 10 days and two weeks after fracturing the thumb on his passing hand during Sunday's victory over the Eagles. The Buccaneers have their bye scheduled for this week, and Testaverde's status for the game with New Orleans a week from Sunday is uncertain. Second-year player Jeff Carlson will receive additional practice repetitions to prepare him as the backup.
* VIKINGS: Minnesota president Roger Headrick said that coach Jerry Burns will keep his job -- for now.
"I haven't talked to Jerry Burns about his job," Headrick said. "We're not where we want to be, but I'm not sure it's time to talk about coaches. I think most of the problems are on the field."