Defensive end Markus Koch suffered a sprained right knee in the first half of yesterday's 13-7 victory over Philadelphia, and the early prognosis is that he won't be available for next Sunday's game against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands.

Koch did not return against the Eagles and will be examined again today.

If Koch is out for at least one week, the Redskins face a tough decision on whether to place him on injured reserve. That requires a four-week stay, but it would give the Redskins a chance to activate defensive tackle Jumpy Geathers.

Geathers is eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list, but the Redskins must activate him by Nov. 6 so as not to use one of their five free roster moves.

Coach Joe Gibbs was noncommital, saying that doctors told him Koch would be out "a week or longer." It's unlikely the Redskins would go to the Meadowlands -- their biggest game of the season -- with anything less than a full team, meaning Geathers probably will be activated.

The Redskins appear to have gotten out of the game with no other serious injuries.

Stokes Eager to Go

Koch's injury clears the way for Fred Stokes to return to the starting lineup at right defensive end, where he started and played well the final five games last season after Dexter Manley was suspended.

Stokes has been eager to get more playing time, but the coaches have held him back, using him only on passing downs to reduce his chance of re-injury. He missed most of training camp with a shoulder injury, but stopped having problems when fitted with a huge plastic harness.

"It felt great to be back out there," Stokes said. "It's been a real frustrating time for me and I was anxious to get back in there. It has been hard to get in any kind of groove when you're in and out, but I understand the coaches are trying to do the best thing for me too."

Best Start Since 1987

The Redskins' 4-2 start is their best since 1987. Their 4-1 record in the NFC East is also their best since '87 -- their last Super Bowl season. . . . Gibbs again divided the carries among his runners almost evenly. Gerald Riggs gained 52 yards on 14 carries and Earnest Byner gained 46 yards on 16 carries. Stan Humphries picked up 23 yards on six scrambles. Randall Cunningham, who entered the game as Philadelphia's leading rusher, got 54 on five scrambles. . . .

Guard Mark Adickes and quarterback Gary Hogeboom were on Washington's two-man inactive list. . . . The Eagles placed receiver Mike Quick (quadriceps) on injured reserve just before the game. . . . Defensive end Charles Mann on Cunningham: "We thought if we could keep him in the pocket, we could beat them. We felt like we matched up well with their offensive line. We did what we had to do."