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Taylor Not Ruled Out for Opener, Would Like to Play

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Jason Reid reflects on the weekend defeat against Carolina and Jason Taylor's injury. Video by Jason Reid/The Washington PostPhoto: The Washington Post, AP, GettyEditor: Gaby Bruna/washingtonpost.com

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By Jason Reid and Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Encouraged because his right knee injury is not as serious as initially feared, Washington Redskins defensive end Jason Taylor said he still hopes to play in the season opener Sept. 4 against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium.

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"In a perfect world, I'd like to play Thursday, but it doesn't count, so I won't be there Thursday for sure," Taylor said yesterday of the final preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at FedEx Field. "After that it's live games, and I'm not one for missing games."

Taylor sprained his right knee in the first half of Saturday's 47-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. X-rays taken during the game were negative, and an MRI exam Sunday did not reveal tendon damage, the Redskins said, so Taylor, 33, could be back Sept. 2.

The Redskins are expected to exercise caution with Taylor, who could be out at least two weeks from when the injury occurred. That would jeopardize his streak of starting in 130 straight regular season games. Although Taylor did not need crutches, he wore a bulky brace to immobilize his knee.

"I'm still in a big brace because it won't support itself yet, but we have some time," Taylor said. "The next few days will tell a lot."

The Redskins acquired Taylor, who last missed a game in 1999, on the first day of training camp after defensive ends Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee suffered season-ending injuries. In the first half Saturday, his leg became entangled in a pile ("I tried to pull my leg out and couldn't get it out with the fat guys in there," Taylor said), and his teammates encircled him and prayed as Washington's medical staff tended to Taylor.

"It's scary getting stuck in a pile like that and things happen," Taylor said. "We understand it's the game of football, but thank God it's not as bad as I thought."

Two Redskins officials flanked Taylor as he limped off the field under his own power. Taylor was examined on a training table before being carted to the locker room for X-rays.

"At that point, you just want to figure out what's wrong and get off the field so everyone could stop staring at you," he said. "But it took a lot longer that I had hoped."

While Taylor was on his back on the field, he was told "everything seemed stable, and it wasn't anything big," he said. "But you never know until you get the MRI, and the MRI was promising. There were some things in there but nothing bad. I'm happy to be able to come back and play. At what point, we'll have to wait and see."

Although the streak is important to him, Taylor said he would be smart about his rehab. "It's something you take pride in because you don't miss games," said Taylor, who was slowed in practice recently because of plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue running across the bottom of the foot. "I've been beat up before during the seasons, nicks and bruises. It's a part of the game.

"But to be able to play through those things, and always show up on Sundays, it's something I do take pride in. But some things are out of your control, too. There are a lot of guys in here that would like to never miss a game. Unfortunately, for them, they can't always do that. So we'll see. I don't want to miss one now, but some things are out of our control."


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