Defensive tackle Brandon Noble's shocking return to health from major knee surgery had been the talk of Redskins training camp, but his recovery was derailed a bit when he broke his hand during Tuesday night's practice and was unable to participate in drills yesterday afternoon.

Bubba Tyer, the team's director of sports medicine, said that Noble should be able to return to the field within four days, by which time the hand will be in a splint. Gregg Williams, the team's assistant head coach-defense, said it is still possible that Noble would take part in Monday's preseason opener.

"We're going to take it day by day," Williams said. "We're going to hold him off a few days. If it calms down, we'll play him on Monday night. But if it doesn't, we're not in any stress on trying to get him in the ballgame on Monday. We've got five preseason games. . . . I just want him to get healed."

Noble surprised the coaching staff by being able to participate in minicamp and training camp after tearing knee ligaments in a preseason game last August and was earning rave reviews from players and coaches for his progress. Even before this recent setback, the Redskins were already taking a cautious approach with him, limiting the tackle to one session a day and holding him back on days with morning and afternoon sessions planned.

Taylor Maintains Silence

There are myriad questions swirling around Redskins rookie safety Sean Taylor: How is his knee feeling? What has the first week of training camp been like? Why did you fire your agent for the second time in five months? But the first-round draft pick is offering no answers.

Taylor, who has not talked to the media since the news conference announcing his signing a week ago, would appear to be maintaining a media boycott.

Approached for comment yesterday, Taylor was unresponsive. When asked if he might opt to speak to the press at a future date, he responded, "I'm not talking any day."

The safety has had a strange indoctrination into the NFL, from getting fined by the league for leaving a rookie symposium early, to firing agent Drew Rosenhaus two days after being taken by Washington with the fifth overall pick in the draft, to waiting three months to hire a new agent, to firing those agents -- Jeff Moorad and Eugene Mato -- Tuesday, one week after signing a six-year contract worth a maximum of $40 million.

While his disdain for the media is plain, Taylor has an ease in dealing with the public. He has gone out of his way to sign autographs after every practice and seems to enjoy mingling with fans.

Injury Updates

Running back Ladell Betts strained his hamstring during Tuesday's practice and missed yesterday's session; Tyer said he will miss at least a few more days. Cornerback Rufus Brown missed practice with a strained groin. He, linebacker Chris Clemons (sprained ankle), defensive lineman Phillip Daniels (abdominal strain), wide receiver Taylor Jacobs (abdominal strain) and offensive lineman Brandon Winey (ankle) are day-to-day, Tyer said.

Offensive lineman Randy Thomas (swelling in right knee) and wide receiver Cliff Russell (hamstring) are out at least a few more days. Cornerback Walt Harris continued his rehab from a knee injury and worked with the staff on running exercises after practice. He is still not cleared for drills and must pass a physical before being taken off the physically unable to perform list. Offensive lineman Kenyatta Jones returned from his ankle injury.

Wide receiver Darnerien McCants, defensive back Ade Jimoh, wide receiver Jafar Williams and cornerback Rashad Bauman were removed from practice yesterday when they became overheated.

Yesterday's practice began at 2 p.m. and lasted for two hours -- the longest thus far -- and the heat and humidity were brutal for the duration.

Carter's Release May Help

Washington's biggest rival, the Dallas Cowboys, will certainly have a different look on offense after releasing starting quarterback Quincy Carter yesterday. The move could plays into the hands of Williams, who loves to employ multiple blitz packages and get after the quarterback. Carter is an elusive athlete who can create outside the pocket, but his likely replacement, 40-year-old Vinny Testaverde, is much more of a sitting target for an aggressive defense.

Williams revealed little when asked about the change in Dallas yesterday, however.

"I'm trying to worry about our own personnel," Williams said. . . .

The Redskins used their last remaining roster spot yesterday, signing offensive lineman Dwayne Morgan, 30, who spent five years in the Canadian Football League and played five games with Atlanta last season.

Though rookie safety Sean Taylor has refused to speak with the media, he seems to enjoy taking the time to sign autographs and chat with fans.