By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Washington Redskins reserve linebacker Chris Clemons arrived at Redskins Park hobbling on a sore right knee, the results of an MRI exam under his arm. Redskins Director of Sports Medicine Bubba Tyer confirmed what Clemons feared: Clemons has a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament and will be out for the next few weeks.
Clemons injured himself with four seconds remaining in the first half of Saturday's 35-20 win over the Giants while on kick return coverage. He did not return to the game. Afterward, Clemons believed something was seriously wrong with his knee.
The injury hinders the Redskins' depth at linebacker. Clemons was inactive for the opener against Chicago but has played every game since. Clemons had routinely replaced LaVar Arrington on third downs, and it will now be interesting to see how assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams uses his linebackers on third downs, especially in passing situations. If Williams chooses not to use Arrington in Clemons's place, he could opt for the combination of backups Khary Campbell and Warrick Holdman. Clemons has 10 tackles, six solo, and two sacks this season.
Quarterback Mark Brunell also is suffering from an injured right MCL, but Tyer said Brunell's injury wasn't in the same class.
"He has the much more serious of the two," Tyer said of Clemons.
Meantime, running back Clinton Portis wore a wrap around his left wrist yesterday that he referred to as "no big deal." Tyer agreed.
"More bumps and bruises," Tyer said. "Clinton, he's a man."
Portis said he didn't suffer the injury against the Giants; it is a lingering ailment and likely will require attention after the season.
Cornerback Carlos Rogers, inactive the last two weeks with a torn biceps, received treatment yesterday and Tyer said he could be ready for Sunday's game.
"We've been instructed to be more aggressive with it," Tyer said. "If we could get some more motion in that arm, he might be ready to play Sunday."Task at Hand
A week ago, Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said overconfidence is as much an enemy as the team the Redskins play. It was a way for Gibbs to force his team not to overlook the Philadelphia Eagles (6-9), their season ripped apart by injury and controversy. But being the team that knocks the Redskins out of the playoffs would give their season meaning.
The Redskins' scenario is simple: Win Sunday and they qualify for the postseason. If they don't, they must rely on Dallas losing at home to the Rams (5-10). St. Louis has lost four in a row and six of seven. The Redskins can still win the NFC East with a victory over the Eagles and a Giants loss to Oakland on Saturday night.
"Our feeling is that we don't make the playoffs if we don't beat Philadelphia," Gibbs said. "We know Dallas is going to be there. The one good thing is that we know all of our focus is going to be there."
As one of the senior members of the team, Arrington said he also looked forward to the opportunity to play in the postseason for the first time in his career. Arrington has been in the league since 2000 and this is the first time since then the Redskins will finish above .500.
There is no shortage of intrigue surrounding Arrington, who did not play much early in the season and missed the previous two games with a quadriceps injury before starting Saturday against the Giants. He had six tackles, three solo, against New York.
"This is going to be a good time for me as well, not just to establish myself as being healthy, but also to feel good as a player again," he said.