Veteran cornerback Darrell Green dislocated the middle finger on his left hand today, forcing him to watch the rest of his team's two-hour practice with the Pittsburgh Steelers from the sidelines.
Green said the finger popped out of its socket when he went up for a ball against a Pittsburgh wide receiver early in the practice, which was marked by hard hits, some big defensive plays and one fight.
"When I got the ball, I'm thinking the ball hit the side of it," Green said. "[Trainer Bubba Tyer] put it back in."
Tyer said he expected Green would be able to practice Wednesday.
As Green watched, his finger wrapped in a splint, rookie Champ Bailey took his place with the first team defense and struggled much of the afternoon. After getting beat badly on several plays, Bailey redeemed himself by intercepting a pass by Kordell Stewart intended for wide receiver Alex Van Dyke.
It was the third time the Redskins have faced the Steelers in a week, and the enmity between the teams showed.
"The third time you go, you risk the chance of having a flare-up," Coach Norv Turner said. "We had one minor one. They handled it extremely well. Our guys are competitive. They're working hard."
Late in the practice, second-year tight end Stephen Alexander found himself in a fistfight with Steelers safety Scott Shields. Center Cory Raymer and guard Tre Johnson joined the fray as Pittsburgh defenders piled on.
"I got a good block on him," Alexander said. "He didn't like it, and he tried to get a little revenge on me."
Cary Blanchard hurt his chances of returning as the Redskins' place kicker when he missed two of his three attempts today. Blanchard made a 33-yard field goal, but missed wide left from 38 and 42 yards. Rookie Jeff Hall connected from 33 and 42 yards, but missed wide left from 38 yards. And Brett Conway, who handled kickoff duties for the Redskins the last six games of last season, made all three attempts.
Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder flew to Latrobe for the Redskins-Steelers practice, watching most of the action alongside player personnel director Vinny Cerrato. Snyder also spoke with Steelers owner Dan Rooney about the Steelers' community outreach projects and the various activities the team has for fans attending training camp.
"We're getting there," Snyder said, asked about the Redskins' performance. "I see improvement week to week. That's most important. It's across the board. We're making a lot of progress. It's going to be a good year for us."
Given the Redskins' logjam at fullback, Turner suggested in the offseason that practice squad member Kevin Pesak convert from fullback to tight end if he wanted a chance to make the team. So far, Pesak has impressed coaches with his ability to get open and run with the ball.
Alexander is the Redskins' starting tight end. Veteran James Jenkins, a blocking specialist, is second on the depth chart. Pesak and rookie Robert Tardio (6 feet 5, 245), of Boston College, are competing for a third spot. . . . Among the stars of practice were defensive end Kenard Lang, who had an interception, and running back Stephen Davis, who pounded his way into the end zone for a touchdown. . . . Left guard Keith Simms sprained his foot during practice. Defensive tackle Troy Bailey sprained his ankle and won't practice Wednesday. Safety Leomont Evans suffered a mild knee sprain.