Washington Redskins wide receiver Art Monk, who injured his right knee in Sunday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals, will miss the rest of the regular season but could be back for the playoffs Jan. 9 or 10, team officials said yesterday.

Monk, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, suffered a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in the third quarter of the Redskins' 34-17 victory. Yesterday afternoon, he underwent a procedure called Magnetic Resonance Imagery, which gives doctors a picture of the knee ligaments. Results were to be made available today, but, even if no further damage was discovered, Monk will spend 10 days to two weeks in a splint before being reevaluated, head trainer Bubba Tyer said.

Offensive assistant Dan Henning, who works with the wide receivers, said he doesn't believe the team expects Monk back before January. The Redskins, who won the NFC East division title at St. Louis, play at home against Dallas Sunday, then at Miami and at Minnesota to end the regular season. Other than Washington's playing for home-field advantage in the playoffs, the games will have little bearing in the standings.

The team certainly will be in the market for a wide receiver to back up Gary Clark, Ricky Sanders and Eric Yarber. Clarence Verdin, a speedy, big-play specialist who has been hurt more than he has been healthy as a Redskin, is on injured reserve and could be activated. Henning said three former replacement players also are possibilities: Anthony Allen, Derrick Shepard and Ted Wilson. Verdin, especially, could be used on special teams. In two seasons with the USFL's Houston Gamblers, Verdin returned four kickoffs for touchdowns.

"It's up in the air right now," Henning said.

Henning said he believes "the organization is thinking" Monk will be back for the playoffs. "Hopefully, we can get him back at that time," he said.

Monk's injury is the same as the one three other Redskins starters suffered earlier in the year. Defensive end Dexter Manley was injured Aug. 8 and did not play in a game until Sept. 20, and sparingly in that one. Tackle Mark May was injured Sept. 5 and did not return until Oct. 25, although he might have been ready earlier but was out on strike. Center Russ Grimm was injured Nov. 8 and won't be able to practice for "at least one more week," Coach Joe Gibbs said. That means Grimm will be ready for the Miami game Dec. 20 at the earliest. If Grimm returns slowly, he might not play until the Minnesota game Dec. 26, or the playoff game.

Manley and May did not undergo arthroscopic surgery, but Grimm did. In all three cases, the partially torn ligament kept the player out at least six weeks. The Redskins' playoff game is five weeks from the weekend of Monk's injury. This is important, because while Monk has had his troubles this season dropping well-thrown passes, he still is second on the team with 38 catches for 483 yards. Now 30 and in his eighth season, Monk also is the veteran of a young receiving corps.

"Art had very little swelling today," Gibbs said. "He's having the study on it to tell us the status of all the ligaments. If it stands the way we feel like it is right now, there won't be anything but just rest and rehab. If it shows something more serious than that, we'll make a decision based on that."

Gibbs, who optimistically said he hopes Monk will be back in three weeks, said there is a "possibility" Monk will be placed on injured reserve.

"He could come back for our first playoff game. If there's a chance he could come back for the third game {at Minnesota}, then we'll wait, we'll just carry him on the inactive list," Gibbs said. The team planned to make that decision today, he said.

Gibbs has another position where decisions must be made. At running back, Keith Griffin has a strained left anterior quadriceps (thigh) and probably will be doubtful for the Dallas game. Tyer said: "It will take probably more than five days to get him ready."

Throw in that Kelvin Bryant still is recovering from ankle and hamstring injuries, and one has to wonder who is the Redskins' passing-down back this week.

"I think Kelvin will be ready," running backs coach Don Breaux said. "If he isn't, Timmy Smith has experience there, and we always have {tight end and former college running back} Terry Orr ready." Orr played running back at the end of the St. Louis game after Griffin was injured.

If they are short a running back come Sunday, the Redskins might activate ex-replacement player Tim Jessie, but he is known more for his running ability, not as a receiver.

Free safety Todd Bowles (bruised left knee) and defensive tackle/special teams captain Dean Hamel (strained left hamstring) are expected to be fine. Bowles could not fully extend his leg after the game, but was better yesterday and Tyer said he is "optimistic" he can play against the Cowboys.

And, while the Redskins have won the division title, they still are fighting for playoff home field. If the Redskins win all three remaining games, they would play host to the Jan. 9 or 10 playoff game if either Chicago or San Francisco loses twice. If the Redskins defeat the Cowboys and Vikings, they could play at home that weekend if the 49ers lose twice and New Orleans loses once.

Redskins Notes:

Gibbs said special teams consultant Paul Lanham will stay for the remainder of the season. He would not disclose if Lanham is getting paid.