Injuries Haven't Hurt the Redskins

LaVar Arrington's right knee was sore after Friday's game against the Steelers, but he said he felt fine.
LaVar Arrington's right knee was sore after Friday's game against the Steelers, but he said he felt fine. (By Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post)
By Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 28, 2005

Linebacker LaVar Arrington walked gingerly among teammates departing Redskins Park yesterday after Coach Joe Gibbs canceled a light practice as a reward for Friday's 17-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Gibbs estimated that Arrington played in roughly 20 snaps, the most action the linebacker has had in an NFL game since his last full game on Sept. 19.

Yesterday, Arrington said that his right knee, which required two surgeries, was sore but felt relatively good. "I don't feel too bad," he said.

Arrington's main postgame pain was a tiny bite wound under his left arm -- from linebacker Marcus Washington's braces. It was a freak accident after the linebackers chest-bumped. "That was my worst wound of the night," Arrington said, chuckling.

After the Redskins were hit hard by injuries last season, Gibbs said that he has been especially nervous this preseason.

"Keeping a team healthy is a huge deal," Gibbs said. "And that's been a big part of what we try to do in some of the things that we've been doing here in getting ready for the regular season.

"We had so many injuries last year. I was kind of praying that we'd be much more in a good-health situation when we got to the regular season."

Thus, Gibbs was particularly pleased about Arrington's 2005 debut.

"We've all kind of been in a similar situation. In my case it was a racquetball tournament," Gibbs said. "I was [in] the best shape of my life, the first racquetball tournament I ever played. And five points into the game, I was shot because of the excitement of getting back in there.

"It's an exhausting thing. I think LaVar gets excited about playing. [But] last night, he handled everything real well. We got just about exactly the number of plays we wanted to get with him."

The most serious injury occurred in the first quarter when safety Matt Bowen bruised his chest trying to tackle tailback Jerome Bettis, who is 5 feet 11 and 255 pounds.

Bowen stayed at a local hospital for a second straight night for observation. But the team's worst fears -- internal bleeding -- were alleviated after an MRI exam came out negative. "He's very sore," Gibbs said, "so they're going to be cautious about it."

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