By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 8, 2007
In an effort to cope with an inordinate number of hamstring injuries and improve training, the Washington Redskins recently changed procedures after reviewing their strength-and-conditioning program.
Starting linebacker Marcus Washington has missed three of the last four games because of a lingering hamstring injury. Starting cornerback Fred Smoot sat out three games because of recurring hamstring problems. Starting wide receiver Antwaan Randle El and wide receiver James Thrash, a standout on special teams, have been slowed by sore hamstrings.
At the request of Coach Joe Gibbs, Bubba Tyer, director of sports medicine, directed the project that resulted in players doing more stretching exercises in the weight room with large balls and rolling pads. The Redskins have increased their time stretching during warmups, and skill players are working individually with trainers before they take the field.
The Redskins have also sought help from the outside, discussing their situation with someone who has studied hamstrings. It's all part of Gibbs's desire to get some answers.
"We've basically been doing the same things for the last few years, so that doesn't add up," Gibbs said. "But we are changing a bunch of stuff to try and find a solution.
"Not that we think that's causing it, but we just want to start being proactive. Hopefully, somewhere in there, we're going to find the answer because it really hurts you. It hurts your football team."
Tyer and John Burrell, head athletic trainer, have been busy dealing with the soft-tissue injuries, and they said they're hopeful that implementing the changes in the weight room and during warmups will help. But "when you evaluate it, and you try to analyze why you have so many, there's just various reasons," Tyer said. "There's some where you can just say, 'Hey, it's football.' Some years, a guy falls on your back and stretches your lower legs out and nothing happens. This year, Marcus Washington is turning and stretches back, somebody's on his back, and he pulls his hamstring. There's nothing you can do about that."
The training staff has handled the hamstring injuries well, Washington said. "They're doing an excellent job," he said. "They're doing all they can do, but time has to pitch in a little bit."
Every hamstring injury occurs for a different reason, Tyer said, making it difficult to develop an overall approach toward prevention. "There's not one single answer to everyone," he said. "You've got to take each injury individually to analyze why it happened."
Time is a key component of the healing process, but that's a luxury. "My thought about hamstrings is that once you think they're ready, give 'em another week and they will be ready," Tyer said. "But what happens in the NFL is, once you think they're ready, we need the guy to play."
Although limited again as practice resumed at Redskins Park yesterday, Washington is "preparing like I'm going to play this week," he said. "It's feeling better, a lot better, but I'm going to practice like it's hurting. I probably won't do a whole bunch of stuff with the full-speed stuff." . . .And in Other Injuries . . .
Defensive lineman Cornelius Griffin (back), wide receiver Santana Moss (heel), offensive lineman Pete Kendall (coach's decision) and Smoot (hamstring) did not practice. . . .
Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, prohibited from traveling with the team to the last game because he missed a meeting, declined to speak with reporters as he came off the field. Lloyd still is in the Redskins' plans, Gibbs said. . . .
Cornerback Carlos Rogers is scheduled to undergo knee surgery today at orthopedist James Andrews's clinic.