Running back Stephen Davis had his best practice of the week, according to Coach Norv Turner, and cornerback Darrell Green returned to work yesterday as the Washington Redskins wrapped up their preparations for today's first-round NFC playoff game against the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field.
Turner said he expects Davis to start after missing the Redskins' final 2 1/2 games of the regular season because of a sprained left ankle. Green made no promises about playing today, but Turner and trainer Bubba Tyer said that Green will start.
Davis's practice performances got progressively better this week. Redskins officials were discouraged following Wednesday's practice, and went home that night wondering if Davis would be able to play much--if at all--today. Davis continued to favor the ankle Thursday but made it through an entire practice. Turner said the NFC rushing leader showed more improvement during yesterday's light workout at Redskin Park.
"Stephen looked the best he's looked all week," Turner said ". . . It was very limited, but he looks like he's ready to go."
Said Davis, who set a Redskins record with 1,405 rushing yards during the regular season: "I felt all right. I'm ready to go. I'm playing. Hopefully I'll be able to help."
Turner said he's hopeful that Davis will be able to withstand something resembling his normal workload.
"I think he'll get going," Turner said. "Once the adrenaline gets going and he gets revved up, he'll be able to play the whole game."
Redskins fullback Larry Centers said: "I know he's going to be sore, but I expect him to get into a flow and forget his injury."
Green participated in yesterday's practice after being sidelined Wednesday and Thursday by bronchitis. He still was sick and weak yesterday, but Turner and Tyer said they expect Green to play today.
"Darrell was fine," said Turner, who has indicated that Mark McMillian might fill in for Green at times. "He was coughing a little bit, but he'll be fine."
Green was less committal about his status.
"It will be a game-time decision," he said. "My energy is down, but I feel pretty good."
Green said he didn't participate in a full practice yesterday but indicated his health had improved since he was sent home from Redskin Park on Wednesday.
"I did everything I could do" yesterday, Green said. "On Wednesday, I was in bed. That speaks for itself."
Ready to Go
Tyer said he expects all the Redskins who missed practice time this week with nagging injuries to be ready to play. That list includes Pro Bowl guard Tre Johnson (bruised thigh), linebacker Greg Jones (sore back), defensive end Anthony Cook (stomach virus) and reserve defensive back Darryl Pounds (sore back). Wide receiver Albert Connell, who missed Sunday's regular season finale because of a sore left shoulder, is scheduled to start today, and cornerback Champ Bailey apparently will start after practicing this week with a splint on his sprained thumb. Reserve safety Matt Stevens missed the regular season finale because of a sore shoulder but should be available today.
Jones said he re-injured his back about four weeks ago. He played last season with a herniated disk and underwent surgery in January.
"Since I had the surgery, that's a weakened area," said Jones, who has played this season with a hernia that will require offseason surgery. "I was able to make it through training camp, the preseason and 13 weeks of the season without any problems." . . .
Today's AFC game between Buffalo and Tennessee beginning at 12:35 p.m., will be broadcast on monitors at FedEx Field.