Redskin center Len Hauss has two broken ribs. Shortly before Washington plays its critical game against Los Angeles Saturday, team physician Standford Lavine will inject Hauss with Xylocaine, a painkiller.
So what else is new?
In 14 seasons with the Redskins, throughout winning years and losing years, throughout important games and meaningless games. Hauss has been strapped up, taped up or shot up to play 195 consecutive games.
He has undergone six operations - four on knees and two on elbows - all in the offseason. "He's a pro," coach George Allen said. "That's the highest complaiment I can pay him. I wish I had more like him."
"You play if it's physically possible to play," said Hauss, who also is Washington's player rep and vice president of the NFL Players Association. "I've got a lot of pain, but pain is not an excuse not to play.
"An excuse to not play is if you can't function. I've always felt that way. Every player who wants to be a good football player thinks that away."
The fondest memory of Hauss participating injured occured a couple of years ago in training camp at Carlisle, Pa. The team's training staff told him not to practice. He went out for the drills anyway.
Later, when the trainer finished his prepractice chores and wandered onto Biddle Field, there was Hauss practicing. The trainer ordered Hauss off the field. Hauss began walking to the locker room. About halfway, defensive end Ron McDole, in jest, called Hauss a malingerer.
Hauss stopped in his tracks, turned around and walked back to resume practice. He was the last man off the field that day.
"He's got to be one of the toughest guys I've ever seen in my life," said left tackle Tim Stokes. "It's amazing he can play and play at the level he does play with the injuries he has sustained in his career."
Some might call Hauss crazy for playing with his injuries and pain. Those who know him - from fellow players to owners to union director - can't say enough good things about him.
"He's got the respect of everybody on the team," Stokes said. "He's the epitome of what everybody who plays football would like to be.
"The man is tough and radiates a certain type of pride about himself. You can't fake it; you can't create it. It's either part of you or it isn't."
Ed Garvey, the NFLPA executive director, cited Hauss' moderation and personality as a force that helped achieve peace and a contract between the players and management at a time when both sides were shouting hatred at each other.
"He gets along well with people," Garvey said. "He respects other people's opinions, but he has strong opinions himself. Personalities became an important part of the settlement. (Pittsburgh steeler president Dan) Rooney got involved, Lenny got involved and it flowed right along.
From his Pittsburgh office, Rooney said he has gained even more respect for Hauss since they have been part of a four-man management/player association arbitration board that has settled more than a half-dozen cases without the need for lawsuits.
"Lenny has shown his intelligence and fairness in the way he has handled himself," Rooney said. "He is definitely his own man. He says what he thinks, regardless if it's not what Ed Garvey thinks. He, more than anyone else, has added to that (arbitration) committee."
Hauss has a simple explanation for his success.
"I guess I was brought up that way," he said. "We all have opinions and if you work things out, you usually have to have patience. Very few things can be worked out in anger and haste. It takes a certain amount of giving and taking on anybody's part."
Centers appear to be the ideal player rep. At one time, six of the 26 players reps were centers.
"Being a player rep is the type of thing in which you do a lot of work," Hauss said. "It's very much like being a center - you're not recognized until something goes wrong. An offensive lineman's name is called if he holds. That's a great tribute, isn't it?
"What kind of personality do you have to have to put up with the stuff you take?" Hauss asked. "I have to put up with a lot of it, too - the holding and the nonrecognition . . . Maybe you think it's part of your job and you put up with it."
As recently as four or five years ago Hauss refused to evaluate his own play. He will now. Why? Because the man considered the NFL's most underrated center has concluded the selectors of All-Pro teams don't know.
"There's about three guys everybody will vote for. Not one of you knows who's playing best. It's not much of a fair judgment. Maybe I'm having a better year than any of those guys. But, maybe, because Billy and Joe are getting sacked and we're not effective with our running game, you all think none of our offensive linemen played well. But you really don't know.
"I've played good. I've had a good year. I wouldn't say that four-five years ago. Now I don't give a damn, because I know you don't know yourself."
And what does the future hold for Hauss, who owns a package (liquor) store in Jesup. Ga., and likes to fish in the off season? Will Saturday be his final game in RFK Stadium?
"Everybody that plays this game does one of two things they quit or they get fired," Hauss said. "I've played my last game in that stadium three different times. You never know what's going to happen."
Running back Mike Thomas was excused from yesterday's closed practice after receiving a shot for the hamstring injury he aggravated against the Cardinals. He is expected to practise today . . . The Redskins officially declared defensive tackly Bill Brundige out of Saturday's game because of knee and foot injuries. . . Will Wynn, the free agent signed Tuesday, worked at right defensive end yesterday, indicating handyman Karl Lorch would move elsewhere on the line if the Redskins need to use Wynn in an emergency. Terry Hermeling was back at right guard position full time after playing only on field-goal protection against the Cardinals . . . Eddie Brown needs to return one punt against the Rams to break the NFL record of 54 returns in a season . . . Mark Moseley leads the NFL with 20 field-goals. He needs two against Los Angeles to equal last season's league-leading total of 22 . . . Wide receiver Frank Grant suffered a bruise on the lower left leg and had to leave the field near the end of practice.