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Jansen Undaunted by Thumb Injury

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Right tackle Jon Jansen sported a modest and not particularly unwieldy cast on his left wrist yesterday after suffering a small fracture at the base of his thumb in Monday's practice. He will practice with the cast today and wear it in the season opener Sunday against Chicago.

"It's not that big a deal," Jansen said. "When I get out to practice, the doc is pretty much going to be able to put a cast on there any way I want, so it's not going to affect me that much. I've still got use of the other four [fingers]."

While those conditions are not entirely ideal, considering that Jansen missed all of 2004 with a ruptured Achilles' tendon, he is happy simply to be playing again. Jansen, one of the keys to Washington's offense, has not played a regular season game since Dec. 27, 2003, and the Redskins went 6-10 without him last season. After four preseason games, Jansen believes he is ready to return in top form.

"In the first two preseason games, it wasn't that I was uncomfortable," Jansen said, "I just didn't feel the same as I had in previous years. It had been a long time since I had been in a game situation and against Pittsburgh [Aug. 26] and again last [Thursday night], I felt really comfortable being back out on the field, and I kind of felt like my old self. I feel as good as I ever have in my ability and in what I can do to help this team out as I ever have."

Clark a Bit Banged Up

Safety Ryan Clark (knee) said he was unsure if he would be able to practice today but believes he will be ready for Sunday's game. Clark missed Monday's practice as well, and he visited Redskins Park for treatment on the players' off day.

Clark took over starting strong safety duties last season when Matt Bowen suffered a season-ending knee injury, and now he and Bowen are both battling for playing time. Bowen returned to practice this week after suffering a severe bruise on his chest, and it remains to be seen who will get the bulk of the snaps in the opener.

"I really don't know," Clark said, "nor can I really worry about it. One thing we know from last year is there's no telling who's going to play. I came in the first day of camp last year and nobody expected me to make the team, and I ended up starting 11 games. No matter who we put out there, he's going to be ready to play."

Synder's Donation

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder pledged $500,000 in aid to those affected by Hurricane Katrina, and the Redskins will collect fan contributions at all home games. Players will be involved in the fundraising effort and the club's charitable foundation has added hurricane relief to its program that generates donations based on the team's performance. . . .

Washington's defense, looking to improve on last year's No. 3 ranking, can aim for another goal as well. The Redskins have not posted a shutout since Sept. 30, 1991, a span of 219 regular season games.

Their last shutout was the third in a five-game span to start the 1991 Super Bowl season, the last of Gibbs's three championships as coach. Of the 32 teams in the NFL, only Cincinnati has gone longer without a shutout (Dec. 3, 1989).

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