An injury problem that trainer Bubba Tyer says is the "worst I've seen in my 11 years with the team" has left the Redskins with the largest injured reserve list in the National Football League and has forced them to make more roster moves than any other NFL team.
Washington has placed 23 players on its injury list since the start of training camp. Five have been waived and four activated, leaving 14, including potential starters Dan Peiffer, Fred Dean, Rich Milot, Jerry Scanlan and Rich Caster, and top reserve Clarence Harmon.
Since the start of the regular season, 31 players have missed at least one game, leading to 16 roster moves to replace the most seriously injured athletes.
The team's injury situation reached its peak against San Francisco Oct. 4, when six of the 22 starters did not play and another, Perry Brooks, was used sparingly.
The team has suffered 14 knee injuries, seven shoulder problems and seven broken bones.
"We can't seem to find any particular reason for all the injuries," Tyer said. "We've had two broken bones (George Starke and Brooks) that happened on artificial turf. On grass, which is much softer, both might not have happened. But we've had a little of everything -- knees, fractured shoulders, broken noses, you name it."
Coach Joe Gibbs has vowed to review carefully the team's offseason training program. "We'll go over everything from conditioning to lifting to eating habits," he said. "I know I've never seen anything like what's happened to us.
"No one ever said this was a gentle game. But some of our injuries have been really freakish. These guys are in good shape, they've worked hard, but you get hit the wrong way on a fluke and it doesn't matter how strong you are."
Last week, Gibbs thought he had uncovered the reason for both Mark May and Tony Peters' broken noses: glasses.
"The glasses get jammed into the top of their noses, causing the break," Gibbs said. Then he remembered Peters doesn't wear glasses.
"Well," he said, "so much for that brainstorm."