One day after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, Redskins running back Joe Washington said he will not rush the beginning of his rehabilitation and has not set a time period for his recovery.

"I'm moving around pretty well as a matter of fact," said Washington yesterday after returning home to Reisterstown, Md., from Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington. "The date to begin rehabilitation will be whenever I feel ready. It's my leg and nobody knows how it feels except me. I haven't set a target date yet."

Washington injured his knee Friday in the first quarter of an exhibition game against Buffalo at RFK Stadium. He was making a cut while carrying the ball. Dr. Stanford Lavine, who performed the operation, found a larger tear than expected and also an unsuspected fraying of the cruciate ligament.

The Redskins are hoping Washington can return to the lineup in five or six weeks, but that will depend upon whether the cartilage heals in three to four weeks, as expected. If not, Washington's return could be prolonged and additional surgery might be needed.

Washington said he'll treat his recovery as a "day-to-day process" and will do "whatever excercises rehabilition entails." He also said the surgery went about as he expected.

When asked whether the condition of the grass had anything to do with his injury, Washington said it did not.

"If we had been playing on artificial turf," he said, "I would have been in much worse shape. I'm lucky we were playing on natural grass. I felt the grass give like it's supposed to. RFK is in excellent shape . . . among the best in the league."

However, other Redskins said the field is not up to its usual standards.

"It's not in as good as shape as I've seen it in the past," said quarterback Joe Theismann. "It's loose and it comes up in clumps. I'm just concerned that someone is going to get hurt on it."

Linebacker Monte Coleman described the field as being "very soft, softer than it was last year. You can't seem to run as quick."

Mark Murphy: "The field is long and lumpy. I guess we noticed it because the Tampa Bay field was like a putting green. I wore long cleats just because of the softness. I wanted better traction. I don't think it's too bad, but I did wonder, 'If it's like this now, what shape will it be in within two months?' "

Tony Peters: "It was a little looser than I can remember. We all have a lot of pride in that field because it's one of the best around. I just hope it doesn't get worse."

Clarence Harmon: "I really still like the field. But I noticed that after the second series Friday night, it was really torn up."

Robert Sigholtz, general manager of the D.C. Armory Board, said he was surprised to hear about the players' complaints.

"It's the same (Prescription) turf we've had and some people consider it the best in the league," he said. "I didn't see any big divots coming up and I was looking for them. I can't understand it; we haven't heard about any complaints. It's the same length it's always been and it's as good as ever."