JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Brian Sipe was in satisfactory condition after surgery to repair his injured throwing arm, but doctors are uncertain when the Jacksonville Bulls quarterback will be able to play again.
Sipe, 35, suffered a separated right shoulder when he was tackled late in the first quarter of the Bulls' 22-14 U.S. Football League victory over the Baltimore Stars.
Surgeons secured Sipe's collarbone with an artificial ligament to give his torn shoulder ligaments a chance to heal. Sipe opted for the procedure after talking to other quarterbacks who have undergone similar operations, most notably Jim Plunkett of the NFL's Los Angeles Raiders.
Dr. Paul Shirley said the Tuesday operation was a success, but it could be months before the extent of Sipe's recovery is apparent.
'He could do some light throwing in six weeks if everything goes perfect,' Shirley said. 'He could play after eight weeks, but that's the optimistic view.'
Sipe signed a 2-year contract with the Bulls earlier this month that is worth an estimated $800,000 a season. The 12-year veteran, who last year jumped from the NFL's Cleveland Browns to New Jersey of the USFL, was traded to Jacksonville earlier this month to allow Doug Flutie to become the Generals' starting quarterback.
Nick Kish, director of player personnel for the Bulls, said Jacksonville is looking for a player to replace Sipe. The Bulls released Matt Robinson and former Duke standout Ben Bennett after signing Sipe.
Bulls coach Lindy Infante said second-string quarterback Robbie Mahfouz will start against Memphis Monday night with Buck Belue as backup.