Mark May, the Redskins' steadily improving right guard, jammed his neck in practice yesterday and left Redskin Park in considerable pain.

May was injured after colliding with both receiver Charlie Brown and linebacker Quentin Lowry. He stayed on the ground momentarily before eventually walking very slowly to the locker room. He did not return to the workout.

Redskins officials said a preliminary examination indicated that May would be able to return this week. But before leaving the park for X-rays, May admitted that he was in pain. The X-rays revealed no fracture.

"I can't move my neck one way or the other," May said. "If I don't look straight ahead, it hurts. They said I'd be okay, but I expect it will hurt even more tomorrow. I know it doesn't feel all that good right now."

May said that as soon as he was hit, "there was pain in my neck and down both arms. It didn't feel very good right from the beginning."

If May can't play Sunday in St. Louis, he would be replaced by veteran Fred Dean, who has proved a capable fill-in at both guard and tackle.

"It's a darn shame about Mark," said Joe Bugel, offensive line coach. "He's been playing well. And he's coming off a real good game against Dallas. He shut John Dutton down; Dutton didn't do a thing. Everyone tells me he will be okay, but Dr. (Stan) Lavine will look at him tomorrow."

May, last year's No. 1 draft choice who had problems at left tackle, was moved to guard in the spring and has adapted well to his new position. Ironically, he had concentrated much of his weight work on building up his neck to avoid injuries.