Redskin Coach Jack Pardee said yesterday he plans to play Lemar Parrish against the Detroit Lions tomorrow, but the little cornerback with the big pain in his back admitted, "I won't really know if I can go until I get out on that field."

Parrish is still suffering spasms in his back from what the Redskin medical men believe may be a pinched nerve. "That's how we're treating it, and he's made a lot of progress," said trainer Bubba Tyer. "He should be able to play."

Parrish, who did not practice yesterday and probably won't today, said his back was still sore, just below his left shoulder blade all the way up to his neck. "It hurts when I take a deep breath," he said "But it does feel a lot better today than it did yesterday. Shoot, yesterday I couldn't even tie my shoes.

"Actually, it hurt me a little before the game Monday, but it wasn't very bad. At halftime, it started tightening up on me and they started working on me. After the ball game it was pretty sore, but I decided to go ahead and work on it (Wednesday) because it was a short week and I wanted to get some running in. I probably shouldn't have done that.

"It felt pretty good until I made a wrong move or a cut. That pain just jumped right back. So I rested today and I'll probably rest it Saturday and see how it is when it's time to play.

Parrish spent most of yesterday either in traction or in the whirlpool. He is undergoing ultra-sound treatments, getting rubdowns and taking muscle relaxants to ease some of the pain.

In his absence, Gerard Williams moved over to his left cornerback position in practice, and second-year man Donnie Harris got some extra work as the fifth defensive back in the Redskin nickel defense alignment.

"Obviously you're going to miss a guy like Lemar if we can't play," said Richie Petitbon, the secondary coach. "But Gerard is a great cover man and Donnie Harris is going to be a fine football player. I'm not worried with those guys in there by any means.

"But I think Lemar will be all right. Let me put it this way. I think he'll start the game. How long he can play you don't know because those backs can go any time.But we've got other people who can play the position, too.

The Redskins are going up against a young, inexperienced and, at times, awful Detroit team that has been shuffling bodies on offense and defense all season, looking for the proper mixture. So far the result is a 1-4 record.

The latest switch will be at quarterback, where fourth-year man Gary Danielson will start ahead of veteran Greg Landry.

Though Landry has completed 62 percent of his passes, he has been sacked 21 times in five games. Danielson, a more mobile signal-caller, replaced him in the second half of Detroit's 35-14 loss to Green Bay and connected on two touchdown passes.

"But I don't look for them to change a whole lot just because of a change in quarterbacks," Pardee said yesterday. "We'll prepare for them the same way.

"They both look a lot alike anyway. He (Danielson) hasn't taken as many sacks. He either runs the ball or gets it off for an incompletion. He's not a real scrambling kind of quarterback, but he does move around a little better."

Landry's gaudy passing percentage was mostly a result of numerous dump-offs and screen passes to his backs. Fullback Horace King leads the Lions in receptions with 13, followed by tailback Dexter Busey with 11.

"I would look for Danielson to use his tight end (David Hill) a little more," pardee said. "He's a heck of a receiver. Landry used him as a blocker quite a bit to protect him from the back side.

"A lot of times a tight end is easier to find, particularly if you're going to throw short passes."

Pardee has been impressed with Bussey, who leads the Lions in rashing with a five-yard per carry average. "He's a lot like (Wilbert) Montgomery in Philadelphia," he said.

"He's got good receiver. He's always been a good back for them. They just haven't been a great team."