Rabach, Washington Return to Practice

By Les Carpenter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 25, 2007

The most hopeful sight for the Washington Redskins yesterday afternoon might have been that of center Casey Rabach trotting onto the practice field. For Washington, getting any offensive lineman back on the field is huge news, but the fact that the starting center, the one who rarely misses games, was there meant that maybe it can play with something resembling a first-string line Sunday in New England.

Rabach, who missed last Sunday's game with a pulled groin, sounded uncertain Monday when he would return, in part because he was dealing with a different type of injury than he had endured in his career.

"I think he will be fine," Coach Joe Gibbs said.

The Redskins also got good news on linebacker Marcus Washington, who missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. Like Rabach, Washington also went the full practice yesterday.

A bigger concern might be the secondary, which is starting to wear down with nagging injuries. Cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and Fred Smoot are nursing ailments that have slowed them in recent days. Rogers has a knee problem and Smoot is still trying to shake a hamstring injury.

Both players insisted they are going to play Sunday but each practiced for only part of the time in a moderate rain.

"I'm playing. No matter what I'm playing," Rogers said. "I'm taking it easy up to that point, but I'm playing."

Safety Pierson Prioleau was held out of much of the practice on the wet grass by Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense. Running back Rock Cartwright, with an injured quadriceps, and tackle Stephon Heyer, still bothered by a hamstring injury, did not practice.

Thomas Aims to Return

When guard Randy Thomas tore his left triceps in Week 2, it was thought he might be done for the season. The injury usually requires significant recovery time. But Thomas, who has not been placed on the injured reserve list, which would end his season, hopes to return in mid-December.

He has been wearing a giant arm brace, much like that used by Barry Bonds, and should be getting it taken off sometime in the next week. After that, it is a matter of simply building the muscle until it is strong enough for him to play. Thomas, known around the locker room for the ferocity of his workouts, hopes he can strengthen the muscle a month and a half after taking off the brace.

That would put him in position to return for the Dec. 16 game against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium and would allow him to play the final three games.

Playing Coy

Again and again the mob of television and radio reporters chased after Redskins defensive players in the locker room, camera lights on, microphones at the ready. A single line of questioning was on everybody's mind.

What do you think of Tom Brady? What do you think of the Patriots? The players smiled, mumbled the simplest of cliches and moved toward the door.

Still the mob surged, from London Fletcher to Smoot to Kedric Golston, Patriots questions for all.

"We're going to show up and play football on Sunday," Smoot said. "I just want to play."

"I read the stats. They're good," said Rogers. "I don't want to blow their heads up anymore."

Obviously a decision had been made among the defensive players to say nothing that would appear on the Patriots' locker room wall and ignite a team that has roared through its first seven games. . . .

The time of the Nov. 18 game at Dallas has been changed from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., the NFL announced.

Staff writer Jason La Canfora contributed to this report.

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