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Banged-Up Brunell Takes a Break

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 25, 2006

Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell rested during yesterday's practice as a precaution but will play in New England against the Patriots tomorrow night, Coach Joe Gibbs said. Newly acquired running back T.J. Duckett practiced with the team for the first time and will play in the exhibition game as well.

Bubba Tyer, the Redskins' director of sports medicine, said Brunell has a minor groin strain. Brunell said he first "tweaked" it Tuesday and expects to be fine for tomorrow.

"I warmed up a little bit and thought it was the best decision just to take a break today," said Brunell, who turns 36 next week. "I don't expect it to be a problem Saturday. If I was a running back it would be more of a concern but because I'm a quarterback I don't think it'll be that big of a deal."

The Redskins are giving Brunell ample opportunity to rest each week, aiming to keep him as healthy as possible, and were adamant that the injury is not serious. The starters are likely to play at least the entire first half against the Patriots, and then likely see less action in the preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday. Brunell has attempted just 15 passes through two preseason games as the offense learns associate head coach Al Saunders's system.

Duckett, who is wearing No. 36, spent a considerable part of yesterday's practice working individually with running backs coach Earnest Byner and getting a lesson on plays from running back Ladell Betts before joining the team in its group work. Duckett said he is amenable to any role the coaches have in mind, and is trying to do as much "mingling" as he can to meet his new teammates.

Lefotu Has Sleep Apnea

Rookie offensive lineman Kili Lefotu, who was hospitalized for several days after losing consciousness in his dorm room early in training camp, said doctors informed him he had a seizure associated with sleep apnea -- he was napping at the team hotel that afternoon -- which can go undetected in resting. His condition is likely similar to what Hall of Fame defensive lineman Reggie White died from, Lefotu said, and further tests will determine the severity of his sleep apnea.

"I have to take a test to see whether I'll have to sleep with a monitor on my face for the rest of my life," Lefotu said. "It's good to know what it was. It's a big relief, actually."

Lefotu, who made his preseason debut Saturday, said doctors are watching him closely, and "as long as I'm feeling good I can keep on going and stay on the field."

Injury Update

The Redskins again practiced without running back Clinton Portis, cornerback Shawn Springs, defensive linemen Phillip Daniels and Cornelius Griffin, tight end Robert Johnson, offensive lineman Jim Molinaro and linebacker Kevin Simon. None of them are expected to play tomorrow. Linebacker Robert McCune also missed practice with a strained hamstring and will not play tomorrow, Tyer said. . . . Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, was fuming about last week's play against the New York Jets, particularly because he informed his defense a reverse was coming moments before New York ran the play for a 61-yard touchdown. "We told them, 'Here comes the reverse,' " Williams said. "That's why I was so [ticked] off."

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