Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann will have a six-inch square "window" cut into his thigh-to-toe cast this morning so the wound in his fractured right leg can be examined and stitched, Dr. Charles Jackson, the team's orthopedic surgeon, said yesterday.
"We'll take the dressing off and put in the stitches," Jackson said. "It shouldn't take very long at all."
He also will examine the wound, caused by a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula in a game with the New York Giants Monday night, for infection and bacteria. This is a common procedure for injuries that occur on grass and dirt, but Jackson said he doesn't anticipate any problems. "The cultures are negative, his blood pressure is normal and his temperature is down," Jackson said of Theismann, who is at Arlington Hospital. "His spirits are good."
Jackson, who has scheduled a 3 p.m. news conference at Redskin Park today to discuss the surgery, said this cast probably will remain on for two weeks, when, in all likelihood, the stitches will be removed. Jackson said Theismann will wear a long cast for six weeks, then a short cast for another six weeks.
"It will take another three months for his leg to get in shape," Jackson said, which would be the end of May.
At that time, if all goes as planned, Theismann would be fitted for a leather leg brace up to his knee, Jackson said, in which he could begin to play football.
Yesterday, as Theismann, 36, rested and greeted teammates and friends in his room, Jay Schroeder, 24, and Babe Laufenberg, 25, worked in his place at Redskin Park.
Laufenberg was brought in on a red-eye flight from Los Angeles early yesterday morning after getting word on a fishing trip in Mexico that the Redskins wanted him back. He was cut Sept. 2 when the Redskins decided to keep just two quarterbacks on their 45-man roster.
Yesterday at practice, he worked as the No. 2 quarterback while Schroeder, working just as Theismann did, took every snap during offensive drills.
Coach Joe Gibbs, who said that practice routine will continue, was pleased with both quarterbacks. "Jay looked good," he said. "He handles everything real well, he seems to be polished about it all. Maybe all that bouncing around in the minor leagues (in baseball) helped him a little."
Laufenberg, Gibbs said, "came back in good shape."
"It was all that fishing and golfing," Laufenberg said. "Obviously, I haven't been working out as much. But I'm at the point where in one week, I'll pick it up."
Laufenberg was watching the game at a bar in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, called The Giggling Marlin, when he saw Theismann go down. He called home to Los Angeles later that night to see if the Redskins had called him, but they hadn't. Anticipating a call, he told his brother he could be back by Tuesday night, and was.
"I ran from one airline terminal to another," Laufenberg said.
He didn't have time to pack, but he's lucky. Movers were going to pick up his belongings from his home here this week and take them back to California.
But when they heard Theismann was injured, they figured they better wait.