Most of the Redskins' health problems had cleared up yesterday as the team prepared for Sunday's home game against the lowly New Orleans Saints.

Only tackle Terry Hermeling, who tore thumb ligaments against the Cardinals last Sunday and had outpatient surgery on Monday, appears doubtful.

"There's been no change in his status," Redskin Coach Jack Pardee said.

"We hope he'll be available by game day but only for emergencies. He certainly won't be 100 percent, but he could do just about anything."

Fred Dean will start at Hermeling's left tackle position.

Center Jeff Bostic, who snaps for punts and placements, said the back spasms that caused him some concern earlier in the week could not prevent him from playing.

"It's a little bit tight, like a sore muscle," Bostic said. "Once I get it loosened up, it doesn't bother me. By Sunday, it'll be as if nothing happened."

Pardee said center Bob Kuziel (sprained wrist) and defensive end Coy Bacon (slight knee injury) will be in the starting lineup. An arthoscopic examination was performed on Bacon's knee but no ligament or cartilage damage was found, Pardee said.

The Redskins, 23-0 winners over St. Louis last week, will be facing the only winless (0-7) team in the league.But Pardee said there hardly is room for complacency on the Redskins' part.

"You don't get overconfident in one week," he said. "If we were 7-0, I might be a little more worried about theat. But we're not in any position to be overconfident."

Of the 14 teams in the National Football Conference, the Saints rank 10th in offense and 12th in defense. They are last in the NFL in rushing offense, having run the ball for just 407 yards, or an average of slightly more than 58 yards per game. The Saints are second in the NFC in passing offense.

In an effort to boost their production, the Saints will start Tony Galbreath at running back. A Pro Bowl performer last year (along with backfield mate Chuck Muncie, traded two weeks ago to San Diego), Galbreath has seen limited duty this season. He is the leading Saint runner with 61 yards on 28 carries. Muncie had gained 168 yards before being traded.

Statistically, Galbreath is the Saints' top pass receiver with 30 receptions, an average of 8.3 yards per catch.