Punter Matt Turk, who has been on the Washington Redskins' inactive list the past two games, said yesterday he expects to be ready to play on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills at Redskins Stadium.
Turk was sidelined for the Redskins' loss at Dallas 11 days ago because of a broken finger on his left hand. He missed last Sunday's triumph over the Chicago Bears at home after suffering muscle spasms in his back before the game. But he said yesterday that his finger has healed sufficiently for him to catch snaps and his back is improving.
"It's gotten better each day," Turk said. "My game plan right now is to play Sunday."
Turk was on the practice field yesterday at Redskin Park but, according to Coach Norv Turner and trainer Bubba Tyer, was unable to punt because of his back. The three-time Pro Bowler is scheduled to undergo X-rays on his finger today, then try to punt on Friday. The Redskins have kept fill-in punter Brian Hansen on hand this week as a precaution.
Meantime, club officials continue to deliberate about whether to fine Turk because of their suspicion that he suffered or worsened his finger injury playing recreational basketball the day after the Redskins' win at Arizona on Oct. 17. Turk says he hurt his finger before or during that game.
According to team sources, Redskins officials this week discussed the possibility of releasing Turk but decided against it. Now, sources said, club officials are trying to determine whether the language in Turk's contract allows the team to fine him for the incident, and are attempting to gauge the likelihood that such a fine would be overturned via a grievance by Turk through the players' union.
Turk said: "It's something I don't think ever should have been brought up. I'm just treading water, waiting for it to pass. . . . That's the way things go. I handled the injury the way I was supposed to handle it.
"Things get said, and there's always going to be someone saying something that's not true. I've listened. I've taken everything with a grain of salt and done what I needed to do to get ready to play. As a player, your only real control is going out there and performing on Sunday. If I'm going to get fined or if I'm going to get released, I can't control that."
FedEx Field? Next Year
The Redskins expect to announce their 27-year, approximately $205 million naming-rights deal with Federal Express next week, sources said. The name change from Redskins Stadium to FedEx Field won't take effect until the beginning of next season but, according to sources, there may be some visible signs of the affiliation placed in the stadium this season. . . .
Linebacker Shawn Barber, who suffered a pinched nerve in his shoulder during the Bears game, will be withheld from contact drills this week, team officials said. But Barber said he intends to play Sunday. . . . Fullback Larry Bowie, who has been sidelined all season after suffering a broken leg during training camp, ran yesterday but still appears to be at least several weeks away from playing in a game. . . .
Center Cory Raymer's fiancee, Heidi, gave birth Tuesday afternoon to a 7-pound 14-ounce boy, Dylan Gene. . . .
Defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson said he has heard from plenty of acquaintances since his 88-yard touchdown run following his interception against Chicago.
"My phone was ringing off the hook with people calling to congratulate me," Wilkinson said. "It was good." . . .
The team, in conjunction with Circle.com, relaunched its Web site yesterday under Redskins.com.