Linebacker Brad Dusek, one of the last links to the vintage George Allen Redskins years, was placed on injured reserve yesterday, a move that almost certainly ends his career here.

Dusek, who has had shoulder, back and hamstring problems for the last two years, cannot be activated unless he clears waivers. But even he admitted that his best chance of playing will come next year, not this season.

"If they have a lot of linebacker injuries, like we did last year, then hopefully I'll be healed up enough halfway through the season or at the end of the season to come in and help," said Dusek, one of the team's most popular players and most effective leaders. "Right now, my goal is to get competely well and play another year. But after 10 years, you learn to take things day to day."

The Redskins had the option of cutting Dusek, who yesterday lost his starting right linebacker position to Rich Milot, the fourth-year player from Penn State. Instead, Dusek and the team agreed to have him undergo a physical examination by Dr. Stanford Lavine, who verified his injury problems.

"Brad's a class guy and we wanted to treat him accordingly," said General Manager Bobby Beathard. "He's been beaten up the last few years and his body shows it. This will give him a chance to get 100 percent again, a chance he just hasn't had."

To reduce their roster to the required 60 players, the Redskins also cut receiver Rodney Goosby and defensive tackle Bennie Smith. Fullback Rickey Claitt will undergo knee surgery and will be placed on injured reserve. And safety Tom Deery, who practiced only one day with the team, left camp and will be placed on the team's reserve-retired list.

In a related matter, the Redskins held up making any decision about receiver Terry Metcalf's future. Instead, they put him through an extensive workout yesterday. Gibbs said Metcalf, who has not had any contact work after recovering from an offseason concussion, will play against Cincinnati Friday night in the final preseason game.

"Terry and I talked a long time (Monday night) and I got a feeling how badly he wants to play," said Gibbs, who also talked with Richard Bennett, Metcalf's attorney. "Terry assured me he wants to play. I felt it was real important for him to say he was 100 percent. He wants to do it."

Dusek, 31, has played with the Redskins for eight years since coming over in a trade with New England during Allen's third season. Dusek has been a starter since 1975 and, at one point, played in 74 consecutive games before the streak was broken in 1980 with a severe hamstring pull. He had offseason back surgery in 1981 and then dislocated a shoulder the final preseason game that summer. He wound up playing in 10 games.

The decision to replace him in the starting lineup resulted from a combination of Milot's improvement against the run this year (he is much more aggressive) and Dusek's gradual loss of quickness.

"It was hard for him to play more than running downs for us," said Gibbs about Dusek, who has scored three career touchdowns on fumble recoveries, second best in league history. "He's carrying a couple of injuries with him . . . It was hard for him and hard for us. He stands for what the Redskins stand for. He's meant so much to the Redskins. He's such a leader . . . (But) we tried to do what was right for him and for the team.

"I wanted to be honest with Brad. If we had to do something, I wanted to do it this week. With the type of person he is, it would have a negative effect (on the team) next week. This is just so hard."

Dusek admitted that he has been playing "at less than 100 percent. I'm not a good practice player because I was trying to save something for the games. But in games my shoulder was really taking a beating . . . I know I'm not always able to perform as I should. I feel like this is the best decision that could have been made."

Because of Dusek's quickness limitations, which eliminated any special team possibilities, he either had to withstand Milot's challenge or face being cut. Now Milot, who also has had injury problems in his career, gets a chance to show that he can do more than just perform as a linebacker on passing downs.

"You have to feel good about being a starter," said Milot, who replaced Dusek on those passing downs last year. "Brad's been awful banged up and you have to feel sorry for him. But it was one of my goals this year to be a starter. I feel I'm playing things a lot harder than I had been. I've gotten rid of my tentativeness that I had last year.

"I've just had more experience on the outside now. I can react faster and be more aggressive. But seeing Brad go today is probably the last thing I thought would happen. I thought he played pretty well last week (against Buffalo)."