The Washington Redskins last night were preparing to make a couple of roster moves that would result in re-signing tight end Terry Orr and moving defensive lineman Jumpy Geathers onto the 47-man roster.

Geathers was almost certain to be activated in time for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, although the move may not be made until late in the week.

When Orr was cut to make room for quarterback Jeff Rutledge, Coach Joe Gibbs said he would bring him back at the first opportunity.

The opportunity may have presented itself during Sunday's 24-20 loss to the New York Giants when kick returner Joe Howard sprained his neck and shoulder. He was very sore yesterday and appears to be headed for injured reserve.

Cornerback Johnny Thomas also may be headed for injured reserve. Although he played Sunday -- and was responsible for one of the four Washington turnovers -- he had his sore knee drained last Friday. He underwent reconstructive knee surgery when he was with the Redskins two years ago and was signed this year after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Redskins sources insist the injury is legitimate and that if he's moved off the roster, it wouldn't be to punish him for Sunday's mistake when he allowed a Giants punt to hit him in the leg. That made the punt a free ball and New York's Reyna Thompson covered it at the 1-yard line.

Matt Bahr kicked a 19-yard field goal for a 24-20 lead, which meant the Redskins were forced to play for a touchdown at the end of the game. Complete Recovery

Geathers, a pass-rushing specialist signed as a Plan B free agent last spring, is eligible to be activated after having spent the required six weeks on the physically unable to perform list.

Geathers, 30, underwent reconstructive knee surgery late last season when he was with the New Orleans Saints, and the Redskins signed him to a three-year, $1.5 million contract, believing he would have a full recovery.

He seems to have had that, and has participated in practices since Week 1. His return means the Redskins will be carrying eight defensive linemen after acquiring Tim Johnson and Eric Williams in trades. The Redskins traditionally carry only seven.

"I've got to be patient," Geathers said, "but I'm ready to go and want to play. It's been tough because you want to be out there. But I guess I ought to be thankful that I've recovered as well as I have." No Deadline Madness

The NFL's trading deadline is 4 this afternoon, and Redskins General Manager Charley Casserly said: "We're not going to do anything. I haven't even been talking to anyone."

The passing of the deadline means the Redskins weren't able to trade the rights of suspended defensive end Dexter Manley. If he's allowed to return this season, the Redskins then would likely release him. They've indicated Manley is no longer in their plans. . . .

The Redskins have lost five in a row and eight of nine nonstrike games to the Giants. But the Redskins have won seven of their last nine against the Eagles -- Sunday's opponent at RFK Stadium.

Although the Giants have beaten the Redskins regularly of late, they have not done so well against the Eagles. They defeated them, 27-20, in Week 1 this season, but before that had lost four in a row.