Running back Craig James, the Washington Federals' most highly prized player, and quarterback Mike Hohensee will return to the lineup for today's game (1:30, WMAL-AM, WJLA-TV) against the New Jersey Generals.
James and Hohensee were injured in the second week of the season against the Los Angeles Express. James will start in the backfield with former Giants running back Billy Taylor.
"I'm glad to finally have this backfield," said Coach Ray Jauch. "Of course, it may take another week or two for it to play together as well as it can."
Joe Gilliam, who started last week's game against Arizona, will be available again today but Jauch said Hohensee probably will open against the Generals. "It's a close decision at this point, but I'd put my money on Hohensee to start," Jauch said.
Like the Federals, the Generals have won only one of their six games--a 35-21 victory over the Arizona Wranglers two weeks ago. The Federals' only victory was a 22-16 overtime decision against the Michigan Panthers three weeks ago.
Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker joined the Generals in their Orlando, Fla., training camp and has played well the last three weeks after a slow start.
Walker, with an inexperienced offensive line in front of him, gained 65, 60 and 39 yards in the first three weeks of play. Coach Chuck Fairbank used Walker sparingly, letting him carry the ball only 48 times in the Generals' opening losses to Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.
"I didn't get upset about it," Walker said of his start. "I'm mature enough to know it takes time to learn the system."
In the past three weeks, however, Walker has gained 97, 177 and 133 yards. He has season totals of five touchdowns and 23 pass receptions.
"Like a lot of teams in the league, New Jersey is better than they show," Jauch said. "They've had trouble jelling in the beginning, but they will."
"Except for winning some ball games, we've been okay," said Bobby Scott, the Generals' 35-year-old starting quarterback. "With the exception of myself and one or two other players, everybody here is pretty young. The lack of experience is pretty tough, we've made a lot of mistakes. But everyone seems willing to learn."
Scott has thrown well, completing 99 of his 179 passes for 1,150 yards.
"An offensive line can't just jump right in and play as a unit," said starting tackle Greg Murtha. "That comes with the experience of playing together."
Jauch said he would shift Dave Pacella from offensive tackle to guard and Jeff Sevy, formerly of the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks, will move to Pacella's tackle spot. Bubba Diggs appears to be set as a tight end. Former Redskin Phil Dubois was released Wednesday.
On defense, Jauch said, Mike Guess may replace safety Donnie Harris. Harris was one of the defenders when Arizona completed a 98-yard touchdown pass to beat the Federals last week.
After their Monday night loss to Arizona, the Federals have been able to work out only once on their regular practice field.
"The weather's been awful," Jauch said. "We've been inside most of the week. It's just not the same practicing on the parking lot."