Samuels Expects to Play Despite Knee Injury

By Leonard Shapiro
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 1, 2005

An MRI exam on the right knee of Washington Redskins tackle Chris Samuels yesterday indicated no ligament damage, and Samuels said he should be able to play Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field.

Samuels was hurt in the third quarter of the Redskins' 36-0 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday at Giants Stadium and had to leave the game. But Samuels said the MRI showed "everything was intact as far as my ligaments, just a little cartilage roughness and it caused my knee to flare up a little bit."

He said the knee was drained and he was given a cortisone shot and likely will sit out a few days of practice this week.

"But I'll be out there" Sunday, he said. "It's a blessing it's not as serious as they thought it was. The doctor told me if it bothers me during the season, I'll probably have to get it 'scoped" (have arthroscopic surgery in the offseason).

Said Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs: "There's nothing structurally wrong, which is good news for us. It's just a matter of when he gets to feeling good on it again."

Defensive Line Banged Up

Starting defensive tackles Cornelius Griffin (strained hip flexor) and Joe Salave'a (plantar fasciitis) both had to leave the Giants game with injuries.

Griffin, who missed several days of practice last week, said he'll have to rest and see how his hip responds to treatment this week.

Salave'a, who was walking with a bad limp after the game, had an MRI exam on the foot yesterday and said "it calmed down overnight, so we'll see."

Defensive end Phillip Daniels also sprained an ankle against the Giants and said yesterday it was too early to tell if he can play Sunday. He said he had to take a knee on one play because of the pain, but wanted to stay in because the Redskins were running out of healthy defensive linemen.

Defensive line coach Greg Blache finally pulled him out.

"It's painful right now. It's sore, but I've had worse injuries and I played on Sunday, so I have faith I'll be out there ready to go," Daniels said. "I played three snaps on it hurt; one good and a couple I couldn't push off on it. I had a couple of guys on me and they knew I was hurt. I've just got to get treatment and hopefully it will get better and I'll be out there Sunday."

H-back Chris Cooley was to undergo an MRI on his sore hip and knee, with results expected today.

Portis Looking Ahead

Running back Clinton Portis, after the worst rushing performance in his four-year career (nine yards on four carries) against the Giants, said yesterday he was not going to dwell on the negatives of Sunday's loss.

"You can't help but put it away," he said. "There's no use letting it linger. We've got the Eagles this week, and we got stoned."

Portis said he had no complaints about his paltry number of carries Sunday. "We're trying to win, whatever it takes to win," he said.

"Nothing was going right for us. . . . You can't fault the coaches for throwing the ball. We just couldn't get anything going. It happens. This is the NFL. If a team has got your number, they've got your number. New York had our number. It was like a shock. They had something special going on . . . and we were the recipient."

Novak's Future Is Unclear

Rookie place kicker Nick Novak said he has no idea what the team has in mind for him now that John Hall apparently has recovered from a quadriceps problem. Hall was activated for the Giants game but did not kick, with punter Derrick Frost kicking off. Novak, the former Maryland star, was on the inactive list for the game.

"I'm just hoping I can make it through this week," Novak said. "I haven't been looking at other teams and their situations. I don't think I'm nervous. I showed well [five field goals in seven attempts] and I feel confident if it doesn't work out here, there will be opportunities for me. I just hope good things will stem from what happened here."

Gibbs said the team likely will make a decision later this week, especially because there are so many injuries and having two kickers on the roster is a luxury. Novak almost certainly will be the odd man out.

Arrington Lauded

Gibbs again praised the play of linebacker LaVar Arrington, who was with the starting unit for a good portion of the second half Sunday and may have regained his starting position ahead of Warrick Holdman. "His heart's in it, he's going after it," Gibbs said of Arrington. "We'll see where it leads." . . .

The Redskins' offense, ranked second overall in the league after the 52-17 victory over San Francisco, slipped to 10th in the NFL through Sunday's games, 10th rushing and 10th passing. The defense fell from No. 4 to No. 6 overall, 25th against the rush and first against the pass. . . .

The Redskins, after four more turnovers Sunday, are tied for 30th in turnover margin. They have only five takeaways in seven games but have committed 14 turnovers, leaving them at minus-nine. Only New Orleans, at minus-12, is worse. . . .

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Redskins are the first team to lose by 35 points or more one game after winning by 35 points or more since the Seattle Seahawks in 1977.

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