Pat Fischer said yesterday he hopes to resume working out with the Redskins' next week and doesn't "see any reason I couldn't play against the Giants (on Sept. 18), assuming I'm good enough and I don't have any setbacks in recovery."
Fischer, who has not practiced since the first week of training camp and has not played in any preseason games, said he has had no paon the past six days from what he described as "slippage in the vertebrae." The slippage, he said, apparently is causing a pinched nerve in his back.
Fischer said his back injury has mostly affected the nerve endings in his left foot.
"When I run," he said, "I don't have full control of where my foot is going. I've not getting full service to my left foot.
"The thing is getting better. It's mending, there's no question about that, but that foot has to come back to normal before I can be effective. No one can say how fast it will happen."
Allen also indicated yesterday he may not have to wait very long for Chris Hamburger to recover from his Thursday night appendectomy.
"I would think he'll be back in three weeks, for sure." Allen said, adding that hanburger also "has a chance, knowing him," of making it back in time to play in the season opener, as well.
Allen visited hanburger at Arlington Hospital in the morning and said the all-pro outside linebacker was standing up and shaving.
Team physician Donald Knowlan said last night Hanburger was "doing great," that there were absolutely no complications from the surgery and that he may be released from the hospital early next week.
He also said it may be possible for Hanburger to make it back in three weeks.
Fischer, meanwhile, met with Allen for 30 minutes yesterday morning before continuing his running program - 100-yard wind sprints on the artificial turf at Redskin Park.
Fischer is not even attending team meetings at this point.
"When I can join the team, I will," he said. "Either you're inside the circle or you're outside the circle, and right now I'm on the outside."
Allen said after the meeting he was encourage about the possibility of Fischer coming back and said he would try to gradually work him into 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills when the team resumes workouts after Sunday's game against the Patriots.
"I don't want to overdo it too much," Allen said. "We've still got time. I want to give him every chance and every opportunity. As long as Gerard (Williams, Fischer's replacement for now) keeps playing like he is, it makes it better to wait on Pat."
Redskin team sources say Allen has been prepared to make a trade for the last month. "The reason he hasn't, one team official said, "is that he thinks he'd be telling Fischer he didn't want him anymore.
The Redskins have their scouting eyes on at least three veteran players, all capable of stepping in and starting if Allen decides to give up on Fischer and keep Williams as his reserve.
They include Lem Barney of the Detroit Lions who probably would come cheapest because he is listed as a reserve safety, Lemar Parrish of the Cincinnati Bengals and Ernie Jackson of the New Orleans Saints.
The Redskins have scouted all three players the last mouth, and they also have been looking at younger corner-backs in case Allen decides to stick with Williams. Mike Washington of Tampa Bay, a third-year man, is one younger player who might be available to back up Williams.
Fischer,of course, is aware of the consequences if he cannot soon begin to demonstrate he can play again.
"If I can't do it next week," he said, "that's going to put a lot of pressure on a lot fo people - mostly me."
"A decision has to be made in terms of team. It would be unfair to people at the position. It would be unfair to Gerard. It's already been unfair because of the pressure on him.
"You're naked out there. If you make a mistake, you're out in the open and there's no place to hide. I know George has options, and I know he'll give me the time. He's done that already, and it's very gratifying.
"But there has to be a point where he has to ask me, "Are you capable of playing football, ye or no?" If it comes along and progresses as it has already, I'll be able to say yes. If it doesn't, he's got to make a decision."
Fischer said he has not even begun to run at full speed yet, that he has not hit a blocking sled or hit a tackling dummy since he started working out at Redskin Park earlier this week.
"I'm doing everything under control," he said. "To go out, try to change directions, back-pedal, go sideways, well, why do something radical that could possibly set me back? What good would that do? I'm not strong enough to do some of these things. The idea is to develop strength and confidence before you do that.
"If I had a setback in terms of rein jury, that would complete it. That would be the final act after 17 years."
There will be a debut, fo sorts, at another vital defensive position Sunday afternoon when Stu O'Dell starts in place of Hanburger at right outside linevacker.
"I feel a lot better about it today than I did yesterday." O'Dell said after a three-hour practice. "I've been used to playing eith a different buch of guys and it takes a while to familiarize yourself with new voices and different people. But I'm looking forward to it."
"Stu did a good job today," Allen said after the workout. "He'll accept the challenge. We won't try and do too much on defense. We'll try to keep it basic."
Running back Mike Thomas left the practice field 30 minutes before the end of the workout complaining of cramps on his legs. Traniners said it was a combination of the 95-degree heat and Thomas' inartivity the last few weeks. They said he would be able to practice Saturday and play against the Patriots Sunday . . . Allen described the heat as a blessing because it will help his team improre its conditioning and "we'll have this heat along the way" during the season . . . The Redskins Alumni Association presented Allen a check for $1,000 for the George Allen Indian Scholarship program.Allen said the money would be earmarked for Grace Thorpe, the daughter of Jim Thorpe. She now lives in Oklahoma . . . Redskins will practice this morning and fly to New England this afternoon.