Special Teams Hurting After Two More Injuries
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Coach Joe Gibbs says the Washington Redskins are in urgency mode, highlighted all the more by new injuries suffered in Sunday's 16-13 loss to Oakland.
Two of Gibbs's key special teams players -- reserve H-back Mike Sellers and wide receiver James Thrash -- will not play Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, Gibbs said yesterday. Sellers suffered a hairline fracture to a rib when he was hit illegally on special teams by Raiders linebacker Isaiah Ekejiuba, and Thrash is out with a right hamstring injury. Gibbs said both likely would be reevaluated for the Dec. 4 game at St. Louis.
The Redskins also are devastated at wide receiver. David Patten is lost for the season after having knee surgery last week, and now with Thrash out, the Redskins signed Jimmy Farris to the active roster, leaving them with three wide receivers on the roster. Rich Parson was released yesterday, though he probably will be signed to the practice squad. Gibbs said the club likely will look for additional reinforcements.
With running back Ladell Betts and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin having already missed games with a sprained knee and strained right hip flexor, respectively, the latest injuries sting. Both Betts and Griffin are listed as day-to-day, but unlikely for Sunday.
With 7 minutes 39 seconds left in the game and Sellers on punt coverage, Ekejiuba drilled him "square in the back," in Gibbs's words, drawing a 10-yard penalty for an illegal block and leaving Sellers unable to breathe comfortably.
Oddly, Sellers inserted himself back into the game on a special teams about a minute later and threw Ekejiuba to the turf. Sellers was called for holding, a play that forced the Redskins into poor field position. Gibbs said yesterday that the two spoke about remaining under control.
Sellers was taken to Washington Hospital Center and was released yesterday. He left Redskins Park yesterday wearing what appeared to be a back brace.
"He's extremely sore," Gibbs said, adding that Sellers was also dealing with a death in the family. Gibbs chose not to elaborate and Sellers declined to comment.
Thrash said he had no idea about a return. Gibbs called the injury a "high pull in his leg" and said it would be "tough for him to play this week." Head athletic trainer John Burrell was more blunt. "He's definitely out," he said.
Said Thrash: "Hopefully, I heal as fast as possible. If you can go, you go, and if you can't, you can't, whether we're going to the playoffs or not."
Refs Again an Issue
The Redskins weren't happy about the officiating at the end of Sunday's game, this time a non-call that led to the Raiders' winning field goal.
With 2:20 remaining and Oakland facing first and goal at the Redskins 1-yard line, Oakland running back LaMont Jordan was stopped short of the goal line. Jordan reached for the goal line and the ball came loose. The Redskins wanted a fumble, but Jordan was ruled down by contact.
Linebacker LaVar Arrington said it was a fumble, as did Gibbs, who sent a copy of the film to the league.
"I always say, if you're worried about the calls, don't put yourself in a position where the game is close enough for the referees to decide it," Arrington said.
Unsatisfied, Gibbs said yesterday he'd heard back from the NFL offices in New York about the goal-line call in Tampa, where Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott was awarded a touchdown although replays seemed to show his elbow touched the turf before the ball crossed the goal line.
"They said they couldn't see it," Gibbs said.
Staff writer Jason La Canfora contributed to this report.