Running back Stephen Davis participated in about 10 plays during the Washington Redskins' light practice yesterday, and said he had "no doubt" he will play in Saturday's NFC semifinal at Tampa Bay despite a sprained left ankle and a sprained right knee.
"My expectation is to be on the field," the NFC regular season rushing leader said. "If it's 100 percent, 90 percent [or] 85 percent, who's to say? . . . There's no doubt [he will play Saturday]. But I have a long way to go."
Davis and Redskins officials acknowledged that he still is not fully healthy, but Coach Norv Turner said he was encouraged by what he saw yesterday and indicated he expects Davis to start Saturday.
"I thought he moved around real well," Turner said. "I thought he moved around like he did last Friday. . . . I would think he would be able to play."
A day after saying he would be happy to see Davis get 10 to 15 carries against the Buccaneers, Turner upgraded his assessment of how much of a workload he thinks the Pro Bowl tailback will be able to handle.
"Based on how he was [yesterday], I've adjusted that," Turner said. "If he could get 15 [carries] in the first half, that would be nice."
Davis said he's hopeful that he can withstand 20 to 25 carries Saturday.
"This is the second round of the playoffs," he said. "I'm just getting myself prepared. Hopefully it will work out like last week."
Yesterday's limited workout was Davis's first practice of the week, and he is not scheduled to test his injuries again until pregame warmups Saturday. The Redskins plan to gather at Redskin Park this afternoon for a short bus ride to Dulles Airport and a flight to Tampa, where they'll participate in a walk-through this evening. Davis will continue to receive regular treatments from trainer Bubba Tyer.
"I'm optimistic," Tyer said.
Davis missed the final 2 1/2 games of the regular season because of his sprained ankle, probably costing him the NFL rushing title. He returned to practice last week, and had disappointing showings on Wednesday and Thursday before easing Turner's fears with a stronger practice Friday.
He had 119 yards and two touchdowns on 15 first-half carries during last Saturday's 27-13 victory over the Detroit Lions before exiting in the second quarter with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee.
Davis's backup, Skip Hicks, has struggled this year, and the Redskins want the Buccaneers to have to worry about more than just the passing of quarterback Brad Johnson when the NFL's second-ranked offense meets the league's No. 3 defense.
"The running game is always a big focus in what we do," Turner said. "We try to have balance. You need to run the ball. You need to throw the ball. . . . When we play well, we're able to do both and do both well."
Center Cory Raymer participated in his first full practice of the week yesterday, but said he continued to be bothered by the muscle in his side he pulled during the Detroit game. Raymer is scheduled to start Saturday, but he made no promises yesterday about whether he'll be able to finish the game. He said the injury hurts him when he runs, when he's hit or when he twists his upper body.
"His deal is going to be how he holds up in the game," Turner said. "He's got a pulled muscle and when he starts getting banged around, it'll be how he handles that."
Redskins Notes: Team officials obtained more than 1,100 tickets for Saturday's game. Four planes carrying 620 fans are scheduled to leave Dulles Airport Saturday morning as part of the $499 package offered by the Redskins and US Airways. The remaining tickets went to the club's coaches and players for their family members and friends, the team said.