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Smoot Goes Down With an Injury, but It's Just a Sprain

By Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, July 21, 2008

After defensive ends Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee suffered season-ending injuries yesterday at Redskins Park, cornerback Fred Smoot also went down with a left ankle injury.

But fortunately for the Redskins, Smoot suffered only a sprain and could miss less than a week. "I love sprained ankles now," Coach Jim Zorn said.

With cornerback Carlos Rogers limited to individual work while recovering from reconstructive knee surgery last year, the Redskins lacked depth at the position beginning camp and are relying on Smoot and Shawn Springs until Rogers can contribute to the rotation later.

Rogers took part in some limited individual drills and kept his helmet on for much of the two-hour practice, but he is being watched closely. He is itching to play as quickly as possible but is coming off major injuries to his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. Any sort of setback could be extremely costly.

Zorn said the trainers are working with Rogers to keep him from pushing too hard. His type of injury generally requires 12 months of rehabilitation, and Rogers underwent surgery in November. In the meantime, Springs and Smoot were with the first team, and Leigh Torrence had a strong showing as the third corner.

Defense Only for Alexander

Defensive tackle Lorenzo Alexander doesn't expect to be as busy as he was last season.

After playing offense, defense and special teams in his first year of action with the team, and having a key role in the late-season run to a playoff berth, Alexander will focus exclusively on defense at the start of training camp, Zorn said. And that's fine with Alexander.

"It's definitely easier because you only have to worry about one side of the ball," he said after the morning session. "You don't have to worry about technique, learning two sets of plays and stuff like that. You're just working at your position every day."

Because of injuries along the offensive line in 2007, Alexander got a shot to play guard and performed well. He also stood out on special teams. On offense, Zorn would prefer to evaluate other players in situations in which Alexander was used last season, but Zorn told the second year player to be ready to resume double duty if needed.

"Before practice, he came up to me and told me that [the news media] is asking him about me," Alexander said. "He told me he doesn't know when he'll need me to [play offense again], but he said he knows I'll be ready when he asks me to go back on that side."

A Question From the Coach

Zorn lurked in the back of the media pack when Jason Campbell was doing a group session, trying to blend in before asking his starting quarterback a question, pretending to stammer and stumble with his words.

"How's your arm holding up?" Zorn asked.

"I don't know, Coach Zorn, I might have thrown too much," Campbell shot back, jokingly. . . .

Defensive end Chris Wilson is a little bleary-eyed these days. His wife gave birth Wednesday to their first child, a daughter named Brooklynn. "I haven't had a decent meal since Monday," said Wilson, 26. . . . Players likely will don full pads midweek, but for now they were relishing being in shorts and shells as they worked back into football condition. . . .

The Redskins announced a crowd of 6,100 for the 8:30 morning session. The afternoon session was closed to the public.

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