A photograph of Redskin center Ted Fritsch instead of offensive guard Dan Nugent was inadvertently used in yesterday's editions. The Washington Post regrets the error. CAPTION: (NEW-LINE)Picture, Dan Nugent
Washington Redskin guard Dan Nugent will spend a week in traction in an attempt to cure a pinched nerve in his lower back caused by a herniated disk.
If traction does not relieve Nugent's discomfort, he possibly faces an operation that would put him out for the football season.
But Nugent, who hurt his back lifting weights before coming to training camp, said he was optimistic traction would help.
"Dr. (Stan) Lavine hoped a week in traction would take care of it," said Nugent.
While Nugent is out, his spot at right guard will be taken by second-year pro Jeff Williams, a 270-pounder already being groomed to play guard this season.
"The plain in his back is pretty persistent," said Coach Jack Pardee. "We'll try traction and just hope it will cure it. We have to see how it progresses."
In an unrelated move, the Redskins picked up cornerback Ricky Odom, waived by San Francisco. Odom, a star at Southern California, started for the 49ers at the end of his rookie season last year.
Nugent, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound four-year man from Auburn, broke into the starting lineup last season as Pardee moved to strengthen the line.
He had been counted on to help improve the team's offensive performance this season. But after doing well in training last week, he aggravated the pinched nerve Monday during a morning workout and has not practiced since.
"This just makes it timportant for people like Williams and Fred Dean to get better," said Pardee, for whom this is the first serious Redskin injury. "This isn't an ordinary injury. Dan really just started to play last year. We hope he will be back in a week or two."
Ironically, Nugent has lifted weights since high school and is one of the club's most diligent conditioning advocates.
Williams has played tackle all of his football career, but was switched to guard Sunday, his first day in camp. Last year, he replaced George Starke at tackle for six games when Starke was out with a knee injury. Williams came to the club a year ago from the Los Angeles Rams in a trade for Eddie Brown.
If Nugent is unable to play the rest of the season, the Redskins most likely will use either the waiver list or a trade to strengthen that spot. Other guards in camp include veteran Jim Harlan and rookie Greg Dubinetz, who lately has been working at tackle.
"We've got a number of nagging injuries now," Pardee noted. "Most of them are leg pulls. It's something that usually happens in this stage of training camp."
Among those with pulled muscles is running back Benny Malone, who had been practicing but was kept out today "as a precaution. If he is around the drills," said Pardee, "there is a temptation to use him and we don't want to. We want him to get well."
Cornerback Lemar Parrish missed the afternoon practice with what Pardee described as "a pain in his upper back. He was having breathing trouble, but it is nothing major."
Tackle Terry Hermeling was held out of practice after slipping and hurting his leg in the morning workout.
"We still are working well," Pardee said. "We spent time today on our goal-line offense. That is one of our goals this year, to get tougher in that area and I was pleased with what I saw."
Odom, 6 feet, 183, was drafted on last year's seventh round by Kansas City, which released him after eight games. He played for two Canadian Football League teams before returning home and being picked up by San Francisco. He had been considered a starter going into camp.
Pardee feels Williams has a chance eventually to be the best offensive lineman on the team. Williams held his own against Dave Butz, no easy task, in a one-on-one drill this week . . . Sign of change: Pardee riding to practice on a bike in the rain. George Allen always was driven to practice in a car by a staff member . . . General Manager Bobby Beathard told some visitors this week that tight end Jean Fugett "probably hates me" for being pushed so hard in the offseason to get into shape, "but it will make him a better player" . . . Mike Curtis, who had a stomach virus, has been released from the hospital but will not come to camp until completely well, Pardee said. "We don't want to have it spread throughout the team," the coach said.