Thirteen days before the regular season begins, the Washington Redskins are facing the possibility that four starters -- tight end Clint Didier, running back George Rogers, defensive end Dexter Manley and middle linebacker Neal Olkewicz -- will not be able to play much, if at all, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"Certainly, it's going to take those guys really coming a long way," Coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday at Redskin Park.

It appears the left hamstring Didier pulled in the Redskins' 17-10 preseason loss to Tampa Bay Saturday night might keep him out for at least several weeks.

"That's serious and could take quite a while," Gibbs said.

Rogers, who aggravated a previous sprain of his left big toe after four carries, is listed as "day-to-day," head trainer Bubba Tyer said. But it's unknown when he will practice again and just how much he will be able to play -- and if he can stay healthy when he does.

Manley, who partially tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee Aug. 8, ran with a brace on his knee at Redskin Park yesterday and did "quite well," Tyer said. If Manley's knee doesn't get sore from the running, "it's not out of the question" he could begin practicing next week, Tyer said, but that would give him just three full days of practice before the Eagles game.

Olkewicz, who tore the medial meniscus cartilage in his right knee Aug. 14 and underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the injury, is progressing well, Tyer said. But Olkewicz's recovery timetable is considered a week or so behind Manley's, which makes it highly unlikely he will be ready when the season begins Sept. 13.

Backup center Jeff Bostic also was injured against the Buccaneers, but kept playing. He sprained his left shoulder and is going to be evaluated daily. Defensive tackle Dave Butz has a bruised left calf muscle after being kicked during the game, but "is going to be fine," Tyer said.

As for the relative severity of these injuries, Tyer said, "I'd rather have Dave's than Clint's or George's."

Didier is definitely out of the Redskins' final preseason game Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams at Anaheim Stadium, and Rogers is questionable at best, Gibbs said. Tight end coach Rennie Simmons said Didier felt his hamstring "pop a couple times" as he tackled Tampa Bay cornerback Vito McKeever after a second-quarter interception. Didier has had a history of hamstring troubles, which concerns the Redskins, Simmons said.

Didier, the team's starting H-back (man in motion), strained his right hamstring in July 1986 and missed three weeks of preseason work. In 1981, he spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve due to a pulled hamstring, although he practiced with the team after a while. A hamstring pull is a worse injury than a strain.

The H-back spot, a critical position in the Washington passing offense, is in disarray at the moment. Terry Orr, Didier's backup at H-back last season, has a severely bruised left shoulder and has missed the last two games. Without Orr and Didier, Glenn Dennison, recently acquired in a trade from New England, and Craig McEwen, a rookie free agent from Utah, received a lot of playing time Saturday and "did look good," Simmons said. Dennison caught two passes for 40 yards; McEwen caught two for 41 yards.

Rogers' status simply is not clear. Tyer said Rogers wasn't nearly as sore yesterday as he was when he first sprained his toe Aug. 4. "It's a setback, but it's not a complete new injury," Tyer said. "I think he'll be ready {for the Eagles}."

The Redskins plan to put a foam and plastic insert into Rogers' left shoe to support his toe. Rogers tried it once in practice and didn't like it, but is expected to give it another try after this latest injury.

Rogers complained after the game that his shoe was soggy and soft from the wet grass, which allowed his toe to be bent back just three minutes into the game.

Tyer said it's "possible" Rogers could reinjure the toe again when he plays on it, and Rogers himself has said he doesn't expect it to completely heal this season.

"I'll take it slow for a couple days," Rogers said. "One thing about it, it's not as bad as it was the first time I did it."

Will he be ready for the regular season? "Oh yeah. It's not hurt that bad."

Rogers' enthusiasm was tempered by the glum look on Gibbs' face immediately after the game.

"He looked so good early," Gibbs said. "I got excited and I know he did. But he can't stay in there."

In other injuries, cornerback Tim Morrison suffered a bruised right calf and did not return to the game. X-rays were negative on his fibula, Tyer said, and he should be able to practice this week. Strong safety Alvin Walton had a sprained left wrist and pinched nerve in his left shoulder, but continued to play. Offensive tackle Ed Simmons has an inflamed left knee, but it's uncertain whether the Redskins will rest him or not. Rookie center Ray Hitchcock pulled his right hamstring and has become a likely candidate for injured reserve.

The Redskins coaches worked into the evening making decisions about 23 players they need to remove from the roster by Tuesday, the mandatory cutdown date to a 60-man limit.

A couple issues remain unresolved. One is the status of cornerback Barry Wilburn, who started Saturday but was badly beaten on a 35-yard pass from rookie quarterback Vinny Testaverde to rookie wide receiver Bobby Bankston in the second quarter. Wilburn appeared to lose the ball and ended up face-guarding Bankston. Not being able to locate and follow the ball has been a problem for Wilburn in the past. Last week, it appeared Morrison was the leading candidate for the cornerback spot opposite Darrell Green.

Running back Kelvin Bryant, who says he is back to 100 percent after straining his right quadriceps three weeks ago, caught three passes for 21 yards but ran only twice for four yards. In the locker room at Tampa Stadium, he was wondering why he didn't run the ball more.

"I guess right now they just want me in on second-and-long and third down. I hope that's the reason . . . I don't know what the reason is . . . I would like to run the ball, but they don't want me to run it right now, so there's nothing I can do," Bryant said.

Said running backs coach Don Breaux: "We knew he was ready to play in the passing game. When we have confidence that his leg is well enough, and perhaps we have that now, we will begin to work him in the running game."

Gibbs said Bryant wouldn't start against the Rams if Rogers doesn't. "We're working Kelvin back in slowly," Gibbs said.