By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Washington Redskins starting cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and Shawn Springs were the focus of yesterday's last injury report before tomorrow's showdown with the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field, and for Coach Joe Gibbs, the news was something of a split decision.
Rogers, the former first-round draft pick who started at left corner the past two games but is nursing a bruised left biceps muscle, was downgraded from probable to questionable. He began the week wearing a sling and did not practice this week.
"It's very painful. He can't straighten his arm out," Redskins Director of Sports Medicine Bubba Tyer said of Rogers. "There's a lot of time between now and Sunday and maybe something happens and he makes a great recovery. But we're just now getting to a point where we can work him a little bit. It's still touch and go at this point."
Springs, who saw his back tighten in Arizona and injured his left groin, was listed as probable for the entire week, even though he only practiced yesterday, meaning playing is a virtual certainty. Springs did not practice Wednesday and Thursday, but said he would be on the field tomorrow.
"I'll be ready. I know Keyshawn will be ready. I know T-Glenn will be ready," Springs said, referring to the Dallas wide receiver tandem of Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn. "Terry was my college teammate [at Ohio State]. He's the reason I went so high in the draft, he helped me so much. I know Sunday, I'll be ready to ride onto the field. This is it. Big game Sunday."
Walt Harris, who started nine games before being replaced by Rogers in the first half of the San Diego game, is slowed by a calf injury that forced him to miss the Arizona game. Harris did not travel with the team last week and, like Springs, only practiced once this week.
"By Sunday, I'll be good. I'll be fine," Harris said. "This is the whole season, so I'll be ready."
In addition to Rogers, starting weak-side linebacker LaVar Arrington was downgraded to questionable, meaning he has a 50-50 chance of playing. Arrington has been hobbled by a right quadriceps injury suffered against Oakland but re-aggravated in St. Louis. The thigh injury is both curious and frustrating for Arrington, because it appears to be a variation of the injury that sidelined him for much of last season, and because after the injury recurred in the first half of the 24-9 victory over St. Louis, Arrington returned to action.
But he did not play Sunday against Arizona and, having suffered a setback, did not finish practice Wednesday and didn't practice at all Thursday and yesterday.
"He's been around a long time. This is a big game for him," Gibbs said. "All I can say now is we'll have to see."
Where Springs was in positive spirits, Arrington has not talked about his condition since Monday, an apparent sign that he is not comfortable with his level of recovery. It was a contrast as well from the mood of defensive tackle Joe Salave'a, who has missed the last two games because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot but said he will play.
"All I need is for the coaches to let me go," Salave'a said. "It feels much better than when I first injured it against Kansas City. I couldn't put any weight on it, couldn't even walk. But I feel ready to go now. Now's the time where the injuries are going to have to wait until March."
The Redskins have not played down the importance of tomorrow's game. If anything, the players seem to recognize that the injury factor could be the difference.
Gibbs also said that backup safety Matt Bowen had been downgraded to questionable. Bowen is suffering with a ruptured bursa sac on the knee, and seemed to have a setback in practice Thursday. Bowen did not practice yesterday.
Offensively, left tackle Chris Samuels did not practice except for walkthroughs yesterday and Gibbs said he did fine. Samuels injured his right ankle and knee in Arizona and did not practice during the week.
"I feel good. Ready to go," Samuels said. "All I can tell you is that I'll be out there. For how many plays, how long and all that, I really don't know. But I'll be playing."
Gibbs said James Thrash had done more work and could be ready. The return of Thrash would be felt on special teams, but especially offensively, where the Redskins have been depleted at wide receiver.
Thrash hasn't played since Nov. 20 against the Raiders and the combination of Taylor Jacobs, Antonio Brown and Jimmy Farris has combined for seven catches in the three games, four of which came from Jacobs on Nov. 27 against San Diego. The result has been defenses focusing heavily on top wide receiver Santana Moss and H-Back Chris Cooley without much fear of quarterback Mark Brunell throwing to other options.
Still, Gibbs did not appear to be overly optimistic. "With James, we're going to have to see," Gibbs said.