Washington Redskins tight end Stephen Alexander suffered a severe lower-back contusion yesterday, but team officials said they hope he will be ready for the club's next game, Oct. 17 at Arizona.

The Redskins got a scare early in the fourth quarter when Alexander remained on the ground for a few moments after being kneed in the back by Carolina Panthers safety Mike Minter. Trainer Bubba Tyer and other medical personnel rushed to Alexander's side, and Alexander was placed on a backboard and taken off the field on a cart.

However, according to Tyer, X-rays and neurological examinations revealed no serious spinal injuries. Alexander was upright and walking soon after leaving the field.

"He wanted to walk off" the field, Tyer said. "I saw the way he reacted to the hit, then he just lay there motionless. I wasn't going to let him walk off."

Tyer and Redskins Coach Norv Turner said they are optimistic Alexander will play against the Cardinals.

"He's going to have a hard time walking" today, Tyer said. "It's like being hit by a two-by-four."

Said Turner: "I think he'll be all right for Arizona."

Veteran tight end James Jenkins is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery today to repair a floating piece of cartilage in his right knee.

Tyer indicated Jenkins perhaps could be ready to play in as little as two weeks.