Tony Green's injury in Sunday's game in St. Louis was described yesterday as a "mild sprain of the left said he thought the rookie return man might be able to play against the New York Jets Sunday.

"It's just a sprain," Pardee said. ". . . he should be able to come back around pretty quick.

"If he's ready and able, we'll play him, if we can get him back around, we'll use him for whatever he can do. Yes, I'm concerned. But I don't think it's anything serious where there will be a long layoff."

Green, who returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown was injured in the first quarter of the Redskins' 28-10 victory over the Cardinals. He was hurt when Lee Nelson grabbed his leg, ending a 27-yard punt return and sending Green off the field for the rest of the day.

Green was at Redskin Park yesterday morning to begin rehabilitating his knee. Trainer Bubba Tyer said, "It looks pretty good. There wasn't very much swelling at all. He can straighten it out and flex it. There's a little pain when he flexes, but that's not surprising.

"Whether he can play or not is really a day-to-day thing. You can't say he'll be able to do this or do that because you just don't know."

Green probably will he held out of workouts until later in the week. He leads the NFL in punt returns 20.1-yard average) and kickoff returns (35.7-yard average).

"Before he gets out on the field, he has to get the strength built back up," Pardee said. Then they can tape it, and they can start exercises - running, working in water. He'll get treatment on it every day. He'll work it as hard as it can be worked."

Pardee said he will have one or more running backs come into Redskin Park for a tryout this week, in case Green's knee takes longer to heal than expected.

At the moment, the Redskins have only three healthy full-time backs - Mike Thomas, John Riggins and Clarence Harmon, Rookie J. T. Smith, a safety and wide receiver until last week, started running backfield plays last Tuesday but is hardly ready to play.

One possibility might be running back Jack Deloplaine, who has placed on waivers last Tuesday so the Redskins could sign quarterback Kim McQuilken. Deloplaine was not claimed by another team and the Redskins have until Oct. 10 to reactivate him.

The Redskins also plan to look at Ike Forte, the New England Patriots' second-round draft choice out of Arkansas in 1976, who was released last month.

Tommy Reamon had an impressive training camp before being placed on waivers the week before the regular season, but General Manager Bobby Beathard said yesterday the Redskins paid Reamon a game check as an injury settlement on his broken hand and according to NFL rules, cannot bring him back this season.

"If we see Tony wouldn't be able to play or would be out for a length of time we probably would have to get another back," pardee said. "The problem is that everybody we've got is contributing and I don't know where we'd make room on the roster."

But Pardee was in far too fine a mood to dwell on any problems yesterday, particularly since his team is one of only five undefeated NFL clubs and is in sole possession of first place in the NFC East or the first time since Dec. 2 1973.

The Redskins got the news of the Los Angeles Rams' upset of Dallas on the team plane flying back to Washington. They began celebrating loudly.

"It sounded like RFK Stadium if they'd announced the score over the PA system," Pardee said.

"I wasn't expecting any help from Los Angeles. Now we just have to take care of our own job. We can't be looking ahead to the Cowboys. To me, that's one of the pleasing things about this team so far - the consistency of getting ready for each week.

"Everybody knew the Cardinals were having problems with injuries, but we were really ready for them. I was appehensive about a letdown last week. As long as we approach it like that every week, well, that's all you can ask."

Pardee also insisted he did not consider inserting Billy Kilmer at quarterback with 2:47 left in the third quarter and the Redskins holding a 28-3 lead as "any kind of mop-up gesture.

"It wasn't sticking him in there with five minutes to go in the game. The game was still meaningful at that point. In talking to Bill, he knows that in a second's notice he's got to be able to go the distance, be a regular and play from down to down. There's no mop-up gesture involved.

"It's getting ready to play. What does it take to win and be prepared? To play when the game is meaningful, that was the approach in putting him in and that was the approach he showed in wanting to go in.

"We were trying to control the clock . . . it wasn't as wide open as the type of game we'd like to have him play. But he wasn't shut down completely from using the offense either. He needed the work."

Pardee was asked what sort effect the team's fast start was having on his players.

"Well, when you have a little success, it generates enthusiasm," he said. "The players are more confident. They've earned each other's respect and that's the reason they're working and pulling together now."

Did he expect such a quick start?

"I had the same questions everybody else had," Pardee said. "The wide receiver situation was a question mark, but the way they've developed has become a strength of the team. Jean Fugett's injury was troubling. He wasn't able to do anything in preseason and he's still hobbling, but he's also caught three touchdown passes.

"So all these people have come through. You have to have a little luck, too, and we have . . . Now you have to figure out how do you hold what we've got for 13 weeks."

How does Pardee plan to do that?

"Take it one day at a time," he said.