Washington Redskins punter Matt Turk alternated punting duties during practice yesterday, one day after having stitches removed from his surgically repaired finger. But Coach Norv Turner said he wouldn't decide whether Turk would punt Sunday against the Chicago Bears until that morning.
Turner said he was encouraged by Turk's performance yesterday, but intends to take another look at how Turk handles the ball on Sunday. The team's list of inactive players is due at 11:30 a.m. on game day.
"We'll just see how his hand feels Sunday," Turner said. "I don't know what I'd do if I had to make the decision today. It would be a tough call. . . . I'm encouraged. The biggest thing is the pain he's had with it, and that seems to be going away."
The question isn't so much how well Turk punts as it is how steadily he catches the ball from his brother Dan, the Redskins' long snapper.
Matt Turk did both with ease yesterday, handling the ball with apparent confidence and kicking high, deep spirals that hung in the air.
Alternating punting chores with him was Brian Hansen, signed last week as Turk's replacement. While all facets of the Redskins' game struggled at times in last Sunday's 38-20 loss to Dallas, Hansen helped the Cowboys to their final score by lofting a punt down the middle of the field and into the hands of Deion Sanders, who returned it 70 yards for a touchdown.
Redskins trainers made a splint for Turk's finger from a rigid material that softens when placed in warm water. The splint then is fitted around the finger and dries. It is padded and held in place with tape.
"He feels fairly secure and he was able to do what he needed to do: catch the ball," trainer Bubba Tyer said. "He caught a lot of snaps today, and we'll wait and see what it looks like tomorrow. What we saw today was very encouraging."
Turner said there was little chance of Turk re-injuring the finger in Sunday's game. The greater concern was whether the splint would interfere with his ability to catch the ball.
"It's bandaged very strongly," Turner said. "That's the concern: handling the football with a bandage. Hopefully, by Sunday they can put a little smaller wrap on it. He did not mishandle the ball today. Still, a big part of punting is getting the drop and getting it done right. It'll be interesting to see how he does on Sunday when we go out before the game."
NFL Fines Robiskie
Passing game coordinator Terry Robiskie has been fined $2,500 by the NFL for excessive verbal abuse of a game official following last Sunday's loss. The league found no evidence of physical contact between Robiskie and the official, line judge Walt Anderson, as had been reported by the Washington Times.
Robiskie was expressing his displeasure over a noncall against Sanders, who elbowed wide receiver Albert Connell in the first quarter.
Darryl Pounds (sprained back) practiced for the first time this week, but his status for Sunday hasn't been decided. . . . Linebacker Kurt Gouveia (bruised thigh) also practiced but was not 100 percent, Tyer said. . . . Inactives for Sunday's game: right tackles Jamie Brown and Barron Tanner, defensive end Ndukwe Kalu and fullback Larry Bowie.