The Washington Redskins returned to practice yesterday -- sort of. In addition to quarterback Stan Humphries, wide receiver/kick returner Walter Stanley and running back Gerald Riggs -- all of whom are expected to be out for at least four weeks because of injuries -- nine players either did not practice or worked out in a limited fashion.

Punter Ralf Mojsiejenko (sprained right ankle), quarterback Jeff Rutledge (bruised right thumb), linebacker Greg Manusky (sprained left knee), offensive lineman Mark Schlereth (sprained right ankle) and offensive lineman Ed Simmons (swollen right knee) were in pads, but did little.

Cornerback Darrell Green (strained right calf), wide receiver/kick returner Joe Howard (concussion), guard Russ Grimm (sore ankle) and defensive end Charles Mann (swollen right knee) were in sweats or in uniform without pads.

Mann and Grimm are not being listed on the injury report. And Howard is the only one who already has been listed as out for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints. But special teams coach Wayne Sevier, whose units really are feeling the pinch, said he is not counting on Manusky being ready either.

"It's going to be a situation where people won't recognize us," Sevier said.

Special Special Teams

People will recognize the Saints' special teams -- particularly their kick coverage squads. They are allowing 13.8 yards per kickoff return (first in the NFL by two yards) and 5.9 yards per punt return (fifth in the NFL, second in the NFC).

With Stanley and Howard out, Brian Mitchell, who has taken over the team lead with 17 special teams tackles, will become the main returner of punts and kickoffs. Coach Joe Gibbs said Stephen Hobbs probably would assist. Mojsiejenko replaced Rutledge as the holder for kicker Chip Lohmiller, and may do so Sunday.

Sackmaster Saints

Quarterback Mark Rypien said Tuesday he probably is thankful the coaches declined to rush him back for Monday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but he said yesterday "it doesn't get any easier" with the Saints.

To wit: New Orleans leads the NFC and is fifth in the NFL with 27 sacks. Linebacker Pat Swilling had four sacks Sunday to tie the team record that linebacker Rickey Jackson has achieved twice. It is the most sacks by an NFC player in a game this season. The Saints also rank third in the NFC in total defense. . . .

The Saints have lost five consecutive games to the Redskins, tying their longest current losing streak against an opponent. New Orleans also has lost five in a row to San Francisco. Washington Coach Joe Gibbs is 4-0 against the Saints. . . . Wide receiver Art Monk needs two receptions to join Steve Largent and Charlie Joiner as the only players in NFL history with 700 or more career receptions. . . . The Saints' 211 rushing yards last week and 249 two games ago gave them consecutive 200-yard rushing games for the first time since 1987.