Despite Injury Troubles, He Springs Into Action

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 8, 2007

Hampered by a back injury, cornerback Shawn Springs could not run normally, but before Thursday night's game against the Chicago Bears at FedEx Field, Washington Redskins teammates Cornelius Griffin and Marcus Washington approached him to see if there was any way he could play.

Springs's equipment was not even in his locker -- the staff had been instructed not to hang it because he would not be in the lineup -- but his performance, including two interceptions, ended up a highlight of the 24-16 victory.

"I had to beg [assistant head coach-defense] Gregg [Williams] to let me play," Springs said. "I went and found my shoulder pads and stuff and just tried to do the best I could do."

Springs had another doctor's appointment yesterday and said he was quite sore, but already was preparing for the next contest, against the pass-happy New York Giants on Dec. 16.

Fellow starting cornerback Fred Smoot was forced from Thursday's game with a severe stomach illness (as was tailback Clinton Portis) -- but he too returned. The secondary has been wounded in recent weeks, and the Redskins (6-7) expect to face lots of downfield challenges in the final three games as they try to force their way into the postseason. Smoot said he underwent some tests to determine why there was blood in his vomit, but that he felt better yesterday, and Coach Joe Gibbs said the team believes the problems with Smoot and Portis were isolated and have passed. Springs's interception in the final minute of the first half changed the game in Washington's favor, and his 53-yard return set up the opening touchdown.

Griffin Could Be Fined for Hit

Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin could face a fine for a hit on Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman in the first quarter Thursday. Grossman was knocked out of the game after Griffin fell awkwardly on Grossman's left knee.

Griffin told Grossman afterward the contact was accidental -- he was losing his footing and lunged toward the quarterback. "I thought I had the ball," Griffin said. "I was just trying to make a play on the ball." Griffin said he hoped Grossman was okay.

Thomas Still Rehabbing Arm

Guard Randy Thomas had a brief return Thursday after being out since Week 2 with a torn left triceps muscle. He left in the first quarter and said later he was, in essence, playing with one arm. Thomas remained upbeat about his status for the Giants game and hoped that additional rest and rehab would limit the swelling and get him closer to normal. "We just have to be smart with this thing," Thomas said. "You don't know until you test it." . . .

Gibbs said the decision to deactivate tackle Todd Wade on Thursday was based partly on his string of knee problems. . . . Defensive end Phillip Daniels (knee sprain) is not expected to miss any games. . . . Tight end Chris Cooley suffered a shin injury but finished the game and said yesterday he felt okay. . . . Tackle Chris Samuels played despite a foot problem, Gibbs said. . . . The Redskins are off until practice resumes Tuesday morning. "I'm going to give them as long as we can," Gibbs said.

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