The Washington Redskins' offense lined up on the practice field yesterday without running back Stephen Davis, center Cory Raymer or left tackle Andy Heck.
Raymer pledged to play in Saturday's NFC semifinal game at Tampa Bay, but the Redskins will start Kipp Vickers for Heck, who tore a hamstring muscle during Saturday's first-round playoff victory over the Detroit Lions. Team officials remained uncertain about Davis, who probably won't practice today because of a sprained left ankle and sprained right knee. Backup running back Skip Hicks lined up instead of Davis at yesterday's practice.
"I want to be out on the field as much as any guy in this room," Davis said. "I got myself ready last week. I have to get myself ready again. I feel if I do what it takes to get myself prepared, I can be on the field Saturday."
Davis said he hopes to practice Thursday or Friday, but Coach Norv Turner said the Redskins probably will not know about Davis's availability until Saturday.
"Stephen was a little bit better" yesterday, Turner said. "I don't think we're out of the woods with it. Hopefully he'll be all right. It will be a Saturday decision."
Davis admitted he was concerned about his availability and conceded he would not be able to play if the game had been played yesterday. He said he thinks his knee, which he hurt during the Detroit game, will heal sufficiently for him to play. But his ankle injury, which kept him sidelined from the final 2 1/2 games of the regular season, is a bigger problem, he said.
As for Raymer, he suffered a pulled muscle in his side during the Detroit game. His backup, Mark Fischer, has never started an NFL game and hasn't even been active for a game this season. Trainer Bubba Tyer said he expects Raymer to practice today or Thursday.
Raymer, after being teased by teammates about having a pulled muscle given his less-than-muscular physique, said: "Me and my fat will be alright."
The Redskins are hoping not to have to make more than one change--Vickers for Heck--to their offensive line as they face one of the league's best defenses.
"If Cory is ready to go, we're talking about playing the same guys we played for three quarters" in the Lions game after Heck was hurt, Turner said.
Vickers will make his first Redskins start. He had some good moments Saturday after taking over for Heck, and quarterback Brad Johnson said he's confident the team's retooled offensive line will do the job against the Buccaneers.
"I can't worry about that," Johnson said. "We've had unbelievable success with our offensive line this year. Our running game has been unbelievable. Our passing attack has been great at times. It hurts when you lose someone that has started that many games, especially Andy Heck, [but] I think Kipp Vickers came in and played great the other day. I have a lot of confidence in the whole offensive line."
Redskins Notes: Wide receiver Michael Westbrook was sick early yesterday and wasn't on the field for the team's morning walk-through. But he participated in the players' meetings and in the full afternoon practice. Tyer said Westbrook had a reaction to something he ate. . . .
The Buccaneers had a 7-1 home record during the regular season, and Johnson said: "It would be very embarrassing for Tampa to lose at home in their first playoff game. There's a lot of pressure on them to defend their home territory, but we're going to have to play our best football to beat them. They're a tremendous team down there."