The Washington Redskins likely will place strong safety Tony Peters on the injured reserve list and reactivate all-pro free safety Mark Murphy from the same list later this week.

Peters, who has been bothered by a strained abdominal muscle since training camp, has had decreasing amounts of playing time the last few weeks.

"Stretching before the game on Sunday," Peters said, "I felt terrible.

"If (injured reserve) happens, it's not a bad move on their part. It's something I've tossed around in my own mind for a few weeks. I started to realize last week that this (muscle pull) isn't going to come around."

Coach Joe Gibbs said the team will make a roster move "Thursday or Friday." The Redskins may reactivate three more players from the injured list during the regular season, plus one in the postseason. Five games remain in the regular season, the next at Philadelphia Sunday afternoon.

Besides Murphy, who has been on the injured list since Sept. 25 and has been ready to return for several weeks, the Redskins would like to reactivate wide receiver Charlie Brown and running back Joe Washington, players considered vital to their offense.

Asked about placing Peters on the injured list for a minimum of four weeks, which would effectively end his season, Gibbs said, "I think it's something we'll do now. I think up until the end of last week, we thought, 'Oh, good, (Peters) will be getting better and better with the rest.' Now, all of a sudden, it's a realization to him that it's not getting better.

"I feel for Tony. I think that he really sucked up his guts early in the year when we didn't have Kenny (Coffey, now the starting strong safety). He kept thinking he'd come out of it . . . it's something that he hasn't been able to shake."

Peters admitted such a move would make it unlikely he would return to the team this season. He said "maybe" the team would choose him for the extra postseason reactivation. However, that seems unlikely, due to the unyielding nature of his injury.

"(This season) is disappointing, but I can't get too depressed about it. There's too many other things for me to be happy for in life," Peters said. Perhaps looking to next season, he added, "I will definitely come back -- that is, if the team will have me."

Gibbs said of Murphy, "I'm convinced Murph is ready to come back . . . What Murph gives us is the intangible -- he gives great leadership being the type of person that he is . . . We've wanted to bring him back the whole time, but we were trapped with only three more (reactivations)."

It is unlikely that Murphy will regain his starting position at free safety. Curtis Jordan has filled in during Murphy's nine-game absence and coaches have said they are pleased with Jordan's performance. Gibbs noted that Murphy has the versatility to help on special teams.

Peters played on the punt return team and "about four or five short-yardage plays" in the team's 28-14 victory over Detroit last Sunday.

"I haven't even been contributing on special teams," said Peters, who was an all-pro in 1982 but missed all of last season due to pleading guilty to cocaine charges. "If Kenny (Coffey) got hurt, I couldn't play 60-70 plays in a game without feeling pain."

Meanwhile, injuries continue to beset the Redskins. Center Rick Donnalley incurred what trainer Bubba Tyer termed a "mild sprain" of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during practice. Tyer said, "I don't know if it's game-threatening. My gut feeling is that it isn't."

Donnalley, who became the starter when all-pro Jeff Bostic incurred a season-ending knee injury nearly four weeks ago, was injured when rookie defensive lineman Steve Hamilton hit running back Jeff Moore and Moore fell on Donnalley's leg.

"Right when I got injured it was like time slowed down," said Donnalley, who initially injured the ligament in the preseason, before coming to the Redskins in a trade with Pittsburgh.

"I don't think I'll practice (today). I'm still very hopeful I'll play in the game," Donnalley said.

Gibbs said that if Donnalley can't play Sunday, he would be replaced by either Russ Grimm (normally the left guard) or reserve Bruce Kimball.

Tyer said that Donnalley's injury might have been more serious if he had not been wearing a metal knee brace that nearly all of the Redskins' offensive linemen now are wearing at practice and in games.

Running back John Riggins, who sat out the Detroit game due to a back injury, practiced yesterday at Redskin Park.

"In the huddle, he (bent down and) stretched his back out," Gibbs said, "and that's the first time I've seen him do that. I think he's feeling better, I hope."

Washington, the running back who has missed seven games with a knee injury, practiced passing drills, but is not expected to be reactivated for Sunday's game.

Wide receivers Brown and Alvin Garrett, both out with ankle injuries, also were at practice. Garrett ran on his own; Brown participated in some passing drills.

Grimm, the starting left guard who has a slightly separated shoulder, did not practice. "Russ is okay," Gibbs said. "We rested him. It shouldn't be any problem."

Jordan said he received a letter from Commissioner Pete Rozelle yesterday informing him that on Nov. 27, the league will review his appeal of a $500 fine imposed for what Rozelle termed a "flagrant" hit Jordan made on tight end Derrick Ramsey at New England on Sept. 23.