-- Adding to the misery of their 10th straight loss to the Dallas Cowboys and their all-but-official elimination from playoff contention, the Washington Redskins may have lost middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson to season-ending injuries today.
Trotter ended his day on crutches after hurting his right knee in the second quarter. Trotter said he was hopeful the injury was not severe, although the team's doctors feared he might have suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament that would require surgery. Wilkinson was limping on a torn calf muscle. Both players are scheduled to undergo MRI exams on Friday.
"I don't know," Trotter said as he spoke to family members shortly before boarding the Redskins' team bus. "I'll have to see [Friday]. My foot just got caught in the turf. I didn't get hit by anybody. . . . It's rough when you know you could have been out there and made a difference for your team. I'm just looking forward to the best. I think I'm going to be all right. I just trust in God that I'm going to be all right."
Trotter was helped off the field after getting hurt on a run by Cowboys reserve tailback Troy Hambrick. He was examined at length by the Redskins' doctors on a table next to the team's bench on the sideline. Finally, Trotter stood and tried to walk, but quickly abandoned any hope of returning to the game.
"I was sitting on the table," he said. "They didn't want me to get up but I said, 'Just let me get up and test it out.' As soon as I tried to walk, then I knew."
Trotter had become a dominant force in recent weeks after struggling, along with his teammates, early in the season to adjust to defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis's system. He is in his first season with the Redskins after signing a seven-year, $36 million contract in April as a free agent. Kevin Mitchell, the Redskins' starter at middle linebacker last season, took over in Trotter's absence.
"It's a blow," outside linebacker Jessie Armstead said. "We just have to go on. We're fortunate that we have a guy like Kevin Mitchell who has started in this league."
Wilkinson hobbled to the sideline after a third-quarter play on which he didn't get hit, he said. Wilkinson said he was told by cornerback Darrell Green, who had a torn calf muscle during the 2000 season, that he likely was facing a three- to four-week recovery period.
"This year has been like that," Wilkinson said. "I felt a pop. There's definitely a tear in there. It's a matter of how bad it is."
The Redskins entered the game with defensive end Renaldo Wynn limited by a strained groin muscle and cornerback Fred Smoot hindered by a bruised tailbone. Armstead was in and out of the game because of a bruised left knee, and free safety David Terrell was plagued by a sore right hamstring. The Redskins were without as many as six defensive starters on some plays late in the game. At one point, tackle Daryl Gardener was joined on the defensive line by reserves Carl Powell, Delbert Cowsette and Ladairis Jackson. Young linebacker Lemar Marshall received extensive playing time.
The players' frustration spilled over at times, with Gardener and linebacker LaVar Arrington having an emotional exchange with Lewis near the sideline during a second-quarter timeout.