The Washington Redskins were told by NFL officials recently that they are prohibited from re-signing retired linebacker Ken Harvey this season.

Greg Aiello, the NFL's vice president of public relations, said yesterday from New York: "They can't re-sign him this year."

The Redskins placed Harvey on their reserve-retired list after he retired during training camp. He said recently that he might like to play again this season, and Coach Norv Turner met with Harvey at Redskin Park to discuss the matter. Last week, however, Turner and owner Daniel M. Snyder said they didn't foresee Harvey making a comeback with the team this season.

Aiello confirmed the Redskins were told by the league they could not re-sign Harvey because that would have amounted to having an extra player stashed away to circumvent the NFL's 53-player roster limit. The Redskins removed Harvey from their reserve-retired list and made him a free agent last week after being instructed to do so by the league.

It may have been a moot point. Some members of the organization apparently were adamantly against re-signing Harvey, and the Redskins seem to believe that Harvey's agent, Steve Baker, was more convinced the 34-year-old linebacker should make a comeback than Harvey was.

Harvey, who accompanied the Redskins to their game at Arizona 10 days ago, is free to sign with another NFL team if he wishes. Redskins director of player personnel Vinny Cerrato declined to comment on the matter.

Injury News and Notes

The Redskins got some good news on the injury front yesterday. Linebacker Twan Russell said after undergoing an MRI exam that doctors told him he doesn't have a serious knee injury. Doctors told Russell his left knee was swollen in part because of fluid that came from his calf. Russell said he intends to practice this week and play on Sunday against Chicago. Trainer Bubba Tyer called Russell's injury a sprained knee.

The Redskins suddenly are thin at outside linebacker. Fred Strickland joined Malcolm Hamilton on the injured reserve list yesterday. James Francis was signed to back up starter Greg Jones, who has a hernia but says he intends to continue playing. Russell and Eddie Mason are the backups to the team's other starting outside linebacker, Shawn Barber. . . .

The Redskins have fitted starting guards Tre Johnson and Keith Sims for casts they can wear during Sunday's game. Johnson has a dislocated small finger and Sims has a broken thumb, but the Redskins expect them to play Sunday. . . .

Cerrato said suggestions that defensive coordinator Mike Nolan may be about to be fired are "totally false." The Redskins have added longtime NFL defensive guru Bill Arnsparger to their coaching staff to assist Nolan but, according to sources close to the situation, Snyder has told Turner that Turner won't be forced to fire any of his assistants during the season. Turner said on Monday that Nolan's job is safe. . . .

Reserve defensive back Darryl Pounds said he thinks the public reaction to Sunday's loss at Dallas has been too harsh, considering that the Redskins are tied for first place in the NFC East: "We're 4-2, and the media is acting like we're 0-6."