Thomas Returns to Practice for Hobbled Team

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 22, 2007

Randy Thomas, the Washington Redskins' starting guard who tore his left triceps in the second game of the season, returned to practice yesterday for the first time since he was injured. His presence was a lift for his teammates, because 10 other players missed practice because of injuries or illness.

Thomas did not take part in live drills and mostly did individual work. Two other starting linemen -- guard Pete Kendall (arthritic knees) and tackle Todd Wade (knee sprain) -- were not in uniform, nor were starting wide receivers Santana Moss (heel) and Antwaan Randle El (clavicle), although each has a good chance of playing Sunday at Tampa Bay.

Starting defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (ankle) was not on the field, with the medical staff and coaches prescribing rest, and linebacker London Fletcher (ribs) was limited. Safety Sean Taylor (knee) and wide receiver James Thrash (high ankle sprain) are expected to miss at least another game with their injuries. Reserve running back Ladell Betts was sick and missed practice, while fullback Mike Sellers was limited in practice after his back "locked up," Coach Joe Gibbs said, adding that he hopes most of these players will practice by the end of the week.

The Redskins have held a roster spot for Thomas all season -- he is a vital cog on offense and adds power and balance to the running game with his pulling ability -- and he has made steady progress since undergoing major surgery in September, remaining on schedule to return around mid-December. Thomas was working in walk-through drills with the second team yesterday and hopes to gradually participate in more drills.

Thomas said he has no timetable for when he can participate in live drills, but Gibbs said he is back to full strength in his arm, lifting 120-pound dumbbells. "Emotionally, he brings a lot to us," Gibbs said. "It was great to see him back out there."

Thomas was smiling all day, though he knows that until he tests the triceps at full speed he will not know exactly where it stands. "You can't really pinpoint one game," he said. "It's a different type of injury for me and you've got to let the tissue heal, and hopefully one day this season I'll be back."

Thanksgiving Reunion

Anthony Mix, signed to the active roster from the New York Giants' practice squad Tuesday, plans to spend Thanksgiving with quarterback Jason Campbell, his former teammate at Auburn. Campbell, eager for a taller target, urged the Redskins to take a chance on the 6-foot-5 wideout. "I know Jason had been asking for a taller receiver, because they have a lot of speed guys here already," Mix said.

Mix, an undrafted free agent who signed with New York in 2006, played three seasons with Campbell at Auburn, and he spent Monday night at a restaurant with Campbell getting a primer on the offense. "It shouldn't be too hard to pick it up," Mix said. "I think I should be up to speed in a week or two." Mix, 24, said he has a family and hopes to find an apartment as soon as possible, but in the meantime he might have to crash with his college buddy for a few nights. The Redskins currently have seven wide receivers on the 53-man roster, an unusually high number.

"He's a tremendous athlete and he's tall," Campbell said. "He has great hands. He's a great pickup for us." Gibbs said Mix also could play H-back and help on special teams.

Turkey and Football

Gibbs, who will turn 67 on Sunday, said he is looking forward to his annual Thanksgiving tradition of eating dinner at the house of offensive coordinator Don Breaux, watching his longtime pal scream at the games on TV and then nod off to sleep. "That's a pitiful thing to take a look at," Gibbs said, calling it his predominant Thanksgiving memory of the last 20 years.

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