Knee Pain May Force Redskins' Samuels to Miss Game Against Steelers

By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels continued to experience knee pain during practice yesterday and could sit out tomorrow night as the Washington Redskins play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEx Field.

"Pretty much, I'm questionable" to play against the Steelers, Samuels said. "I'll go out, warm up and see how I feel, but I don't know. It's kind of an aggravating pain in there. I'm just trying to play in this next game."

Samuels -- the team's top offensive lineman -- initially felt pain in his right knee last week during pregame warmups and sat out Washington's 25-17 victory over the Detroit Lions, ending his streak at 73 consecutive starts in regular season games. An MRI exam Monday revealed no structural damage, a team spokesman said, but showed inflammation of the cartilage behind his knee.

"His knee is just aching," Redskins Coach Jim Zorn said. "Even today, he's out there and it was aching. He's trying to push through. We know what it is, it's not structural damage, and it's just pain tolerance."

Second-year tackle Stephon Heyer, who struggled in place of Samuels against the Lions, would start again if Samuels misses his second straight game. The Steelers have the NFL's top-ranked defense and are second in the league with 25 sacks.

Quarterback Jason Campbell has "confidence in Stephon, and we all know he's a young player who's working to get established in this league, but you definitely hope that Chris Samuels can be out there.

"We're facing one of the best pass rushes in all of football, they really do a great job of getting to the quarterback, and having Chris Samuels in the game would be big for us. We just have to hope his knee gets better."

Moss Hopes to Play

Top wide receiver Santana Moss, who did not participate in team drills for the fourth straight day, tested his sore hamstring while running under the supervision of trainers and hopes to play against Pittsburgh.

"I feel better today, Moss said. "I ran today. That's a good sign."

Moss, however, did not make the sharp cuts required in route running, which would be the next step to determine the strength of his hamstring.

"It was all just straight ahead," Zorn said. "We just wanted to see, as he ran, where was the tenderness. Was there any grabbing or anything like that? We're going to do it again [today], see how he feels and then we'll just make a game-time decision."

If Moss sat out against Pittsburgh, No. 3 wide receiver James Thrash would take his spot, and rookie wide receiver Devin Thomas could have an increased role.

"If Santana can't go, I know that James Thrash will step up," Campbell said. "But you know, it would be good to have Santana out there.

"He's such a dynamic player. He's one of these receivers who, whenever he gets the ball in his hands, can take one to the house. We need him in this kind of game against a team like this. Hopefully, he'll be good to go."

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