Team Takes Precautions With Brunell's Cut

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Washington Redskins' athletic trainers tended to the cut on quarterback Mark Brunell's left elbow yesterday, giving him pills to take, cleaning the wound and trying to prevent infection. Coach Joe Gibbs said the cut was "not a big deal," but the team is taking precautions to keep fluid from accumulating in the elbow joint.

Brunell, who set an NFL record with 22 straight completions against Houston on Sunday, missed almost all of the 2003 season, his last with Jacksonville, after surgery on the same elbow. Gibbs said there was no significant swelling or fluid in Brunell's throwing elbow. The team has had several cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in recent years -- they went to great lengths to prevent cases of the bacterial infection in the offseason -- and have wrapped much of Brunell's arm, down to the thumb, to keep bacteria out.

"That's what they're concerned about, making sure it stays clean with no infections," Brunell said. "There's nothing really to treat, really. Just a few stitches and hopefully it gets better."

Brunell said he was not concerned that the cut would keep him from playing or would limit his performance.

Yesterday he was flooded with calls and text messages congratulating him on setting the single-game, consecutive-completion record in Houston and for picking up the first victory of the season. For much of last week, Brunell was under fire for the offense's ineptitude this year, with some fans calling for rookie Jason Campbell to replace him, a prospect Coach Joe Gibbs said he never considered.

"I've got a lot of friends and it kind of reminds you there's some good people out there still rooting for you," Brunell said. "It's nice to hear a lot of people saying, 'Good job, and good luck against the Jaguars.' "

Springs Unlikely to Play

Cornerback Shawn Springs, who has missed all three games with groin and abdominal injuries, said it does not appear likely that he will be able to play Sunday against Jacksonville. Springs underwent abdominal surgery last month, then strained his groin last Wednesday in his first practice.

Springs, a former Pro Bowl player who is Washington's top coverage defender, said he is unsure if or when he will return to practice this week. He rested late last week, and Gibbs said that if Springs cannot practice tomorrow, it is unlikely he will play.

"I'm just rehabbing," Springs said. "It takes some time to come back from this."

Washington's secondary has been vulnerable to deep passes -- particularly over the middle -- and could use Springs's calming presence in the defensive backfield.

The Redskins also played Sunday without starting defensive tackle Joe Salave'a, who missed practice last week with a strained calf. Salave'a said it feels good but will not know until later in the week if he can play.

"Until you go out there and hit somebody you don't know," Salave'a said.

Duckett Itching for Action

Running back T.J. Duckett said he was surprised to be inactive Sunday. The Redskins gave up the equivalent of a high third-round pick to get Duckett, a former first-round pick in the preseason, but he failed to get on the field in Week 1 and carried just five times in Week 2. He didn't even dress for Houston.

"Of course, it eats at me," said Duckett, who is in the final year of his contract. "Athletes are competitors. You always want to play. You want to get on the field and perform, but at the same time it's a team sport, and you have to be a team player." . . .

The Redskins' 495 yards of offense Sunday were the most in the second Gibbs era, and the 10th most by a Gibbs offense. A Gibbs team last amassed 500 yards in January 1991, posting 559 against Atlanta.

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