Chris Hanburger will be released from Arlington Hospital today, but coach George Allen admitted yesterday his all-pro outside linebacker probably will not be able to see action in a football game until the Redskins' second contest of the regular season against Atlanta.
Allen also said yesterday he still Gerard Williams to let him start the has enough confidence in cornerback season opener if Pat Fischer cannot recover in time from his back injury. "I still believe in Gerard," Allen said.
"He didn't do as well this week as he did last week, but I certainly haven't given up on him. We probably won't know about Fischer right on up to the end of this week. We want to see how he is in practice. I hope he can start tomorrow (Tueday). Watching him practise will let me knowing to expect."
Hanburger, mean while, left little doubt that he would not be available for the season opener against the New York Giants just 12 days away.
"There's really no way of telling yet," Hanburger said. "But from talking to the doctors, it's going to be at least another 10, maybe 12 or 13 days before they let me do anything.
"Right after the operation (an emergency appendectomy performed last Thursday), I kind of felt that I might possible be ready (for the opener) because I seemed to make such rapid progress right away.
"After talking to the doctors, I've just got do do what they tell me to do. I can tell you right now that if there's a question about it, I won't push it under any circumstances.
"The way they've described it to me, it's like pouring concrete. I've got all these stitches, and they're starting to settle and it takes time for these things to happen. You just can't push it."
Dr. Alan Wise, a surgeon at Arlington Hospital who examined Hanburger yesterday, said Hanburger was doing well and that preliminary estimate that it would take a minimum of three weeks for Hanburger to play "is still the same."
Hanburger watches the Redskins' humiliating 45-7 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots from his hospital room Sunday and Said, "When it got to be 28-0, I fiured it's just one of those days.
"I don't think you can say why it happened and I don't think it's anything to hit the panic button about. All those things are correctable. There's just not much you can do except forget it and get ready for the next one."
That was precisely what Allen was saying yesterday after studying films and talking to some of his players.
He met with running back Mike Thomas for 30 minutes early in the afternoon. "He just wanted to see how I was feeling," Thomas said. Allen admitted that Thomas' hamstring pull is becoming a "worrisome situtation."
Allen declined to elaborate, saying only, "I've already said enough about it." The coach is not pleased over Thomas' physical condition and the fact that he had only been able to take part in only practices all preseason.
Allen rearely criticizes his players publicly. but he has been grousing that Thomas' two-day holdout and subsequent contract hassle with the club may be responsible for his star running back's physical problems.
Thomas, in his first game action of the preseason, started against the Patriots, pulled up limping on his second carry and left the game after his third.
Thomas took heat and whilpool treatments yesterday at Redskin Park and said he would try to practice when the team resumes workouts today. But, most likely, he will not be able to take the field until later in the week, if all.
"It's depressing," Thomas said, "it's unbelievably depressing. I want to play. I really do, but if I can't run on it, how can I play? I'll see how it feels tomorrow, and I'll keep my fingers crossed.
"No, "I'm not getting any heat from anyone, not the coach or the players. They know I want to play. I would hope they're concerned about it, because I sure am."
Allen had other problems to cope with yesterday. Stu O'Dell, who replaced Hanburger at outside linebacker, was limping badly on a sprained right ankle. And the third man at the position, Joe Harris, flew home to North Carolina to attend the funeral of his mother. Harris probably will miss several days of practice.
Tackle George Starke and defensive end Dennis Johnson also were nursing sore ankles, and they may not be available for the Redskins' final game of the preseason Friday night against the Jets.
Although he won't say so publicly, Allen is also getting increasingly concerned about the lack of productivity in his offense. In five preseason game, the Redskins have scored only seven touchdowns and they have been cumulatively outscored in the first period, 41-3, by opposing defenses.
With Thomas ailing and the offense not scoring or moving the football consistently, the burden must fall to the defense. And with the pass rush still not functioning properly, and Fischer and Hanburger questionable for the opener, Allen knows his team could be in a major bind if those problems can't be solved.
"it's a matter of concentration more than anything else," he said yesterday, "I think we'll improve. We have to improve."
On the plus side, Allen has been allowing quarterback Billy Kilmer to play only a quarter per game in the preseason, but that probably will change against the Jets. He will play a half, and maybe more.
The coach also has experimented with younger players more than ever before this preseason, and his veterans rarely get too excited about the exhibition games anyway.
Four more of those young fellows will disappear today by 4 p.m. in the second-to-last cutdown. That will give the Redskins 48 players and they must trim down to a 43-man squad and two man taxi until by next Tuesday.