Fellas: Thanks very much for the response.
Kevin: I'll try going even lighter and graduating from there. Then I see about a trap bar.
Craig: ("Most of the time problems from heavy deadlifting are from back bowing into "flexed" position. Most of the arching injuries I have been made aware of are from push pressing overhead pressing. Is this the case?") Short answer: Yes. Had a tendency to over-arch (i.e., stick butt way out) while squatting pretty heavy. This and some other bad habits PT belived cause back to go out. To be clear, I personally don't think deadlifts caused the problem. I had done some during the week before my back went out but I was sitting with poor posture in my chair at work when it went out. But it does seem that there is some arching under load at the start and finish of the deadlift (see frame 1 and 7 on the crossfit.com deadlift slideshow). In any event, it sounds like you are suggesting something more nuetral than the slideshow, which I'll certainly try.
Thanks again for your thoughts.