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A Slew of Injuries Leaves Defensive Line Painfully Thin

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Washington Redskins likely will be without at least three of their top defensive linemen for Thursday's preseason finale with the Baltimore Ravens, but are hopeful all will return from injuries for the regular season opener. Renaldo Wynn (ankle), Cornelius Griffin (knee) and Phillip Daniels (back) all missed yesterday's practice, but are progressing well, according to Bubba Tyer, the team's director of sports medicine.

Defensive lineman Demetric Evans also missed practice to have an infected wisdom tooth extracted, and fullback Mike Sellers will be out a few days recovering from a stomach virus. Should Evans not be in the lineup Thursday, the Redskins might have two of their top six defensive linemen available. Wynn is out of his walking cast, however, and believes he will be ready for the opening game on Sept. 11. Daniels, who participated in some drills without pads on, could be cleared for more work today, Tyer said, while Griffin, who also did drills without pads and with a brace on his right knee, will work with the athletic trainers for several more days before getting full clearance.

"We need to work with him a few days to get the knee good and strong," Tyer said of Griffin.

The Redskins also were without linebackers Robert McCune (hamstring) and Khary Campbell (knee). Both are day-to-day, Tyer said. Offensive lineman Jim Molinaro, who had knee surgery early in training camp, practiced for the first time yesterday and said he plans to play Thursday night. Molinaro was practicing with the second team line yesterday at left tackle, where he was slotted before getting hurt.

Frost Expects Competition

There were no new kickers or punters in camp yesterday, but punter Derrick Frost said he anticipates the arrival of at least one more punter before the season. Frost has struggled mightily the last two games and was erratic last season as well.

"If I don't perform, I'm not going to play," Frost said, adding that under these circumstances, "You always expect competition."

Place kicker John Hall has been injured most of the past two seasons, no longer handles kickoffs and had his lone field goal attempt Saturday in New England blocked. As teams make cuts this week, more kickers and punters will become available. Nick Novak, a Maryland product who filled in when Hall was hurt last year, was waived by Arizona last night, and said he will learn by 1 p.m. today if any other team has claimed him. His agent contacted the Redskins, Novak said, but he had not heard back as of last evening.

"I'd love to be back in Washington," Novak said.

The Redskins released reserve punter David Lonie and kicker Tyler Jones yesterday, among 12 players cut to get to the 75-man roster limit. They also cut offensive linemen Jon Alston and Jim Jones, quarterback Casey Bramlet, defensive backs Aric Williams and Antuan Edwards, defensive linemen Chris Mineo and Karon Riley, linebacker Kevin Simon and tight ends Robert Johnson and Calen Powell. Johnson, oft-injured, was with the team for parts of last season, and Simon was a seventh-round pick in April.

Breaux Is Back From Surgery

Offensive coordinator Don Breaux, 66, was back on the field and in good spirits after undergoing a hernia operation last week. Breaux experienced pain last week and underwent surgery, but walked 35 minutes the next day and was making his post-practice laps yesterday. Breaux is sporting huge sutures down the middle of his stomach, with staples still in. "It's great to be back," Breaux said. "You wanted to get back in the swing of things as quickly as you can."

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