The Washington Redskins have downgraded LaVar Arrington to doubtful for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers and it is likely the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker will miss his fifth straight game because of a knee problem.
Arrington had minor arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus on Sept. 23 and then aggravated his injury Monday while slipping during practice.
Arrington was originally expected to miss two to four weeks after the surgery. He wanted to play in the last two games but team doctors did not clear him. He has practiced sparingly since the surgery and was generally considered likely to play this weekend before straining his knee Monday in the team's first practice back from its bye week.
Bubba Tyer, the Redskins' director of sports medicine, said the training staff is working on strengthening Arrington's quadriceps muscle and that his knee looks good, with the swelling from the surgery down. "But he needs more strength in his quad for him to stay out on the practice field," Tyer said. "We'll just take it day to day with him."
Tyer said it requires time to strengthen the muscles on Arrington's right leg that have atrophied from lack of use since the surgery. "He needs more work," Tyer said. He said Arrington ran five yards and fell when trying to turn at practice Monday. Tyer said the strain itself was not severe, and that even without the setback Arrington would have needed to build up strength in his leg muscle for him to be cleared to play against Green Bay.
Arrington declined to comment before practice at Redskins Park yesterday, and was not on the practice field with the rest of the team.
Linebacker Mike Barrow was able to practice fully for the first time since hurting tendons in his left knee during the early days of training camp in August, but was again listed as questionable for Sunday's game. "He did everything the coaches asked him to do, and felt good after" practice, Tyer said. "So we're very pleased and happy for him."
Coach Joe Gibbs said Barrow's workload will gradually increase and the defensive coaches will decide how much he ultimately plays if he is cleared for Sunday's game.
Kicker John Hall was listed as doubtful with a groin injury, although he was able to kick from close range yesterday, so free agent Ola Kimrin is set to handle the kicking duties for the second straight game. Defensive end Phillip Daniels, who has missed the last four games with a groin tear, was listed as questionable and did not participate in all team drills. Gibbs said he was encouraged by Daniels's progress and that his workload will increase in practice.
Return specialist Chad Morton (knee) is questionable and tackle Chris Samuels (ankle), tight end Fred Baxter (hamstring) and cornerback Fred Smoot (shoulder) are listed as probable and are expected to play against the Packers.
Favre Says He'll Play
The Packers listed quarterback Brett Favre as probable for Sunday's game with a hand injury, and while Favre said he is concerned about the pain he is experiencing in the back of his hand, he expects to play at FedEx Field. "I would say right now I expect to play," Favre said during a conference call with reporters as he prepares to play his 197th straight regular season game.
Favre also spoke about dealing with personal tragedies in the last year, from the death of his father and brother-in-law to this week's revelation that his wife, Deanna, is being treated for breast cancer. Favre, 35, said he spoke with his wife about retiring after this season in light of her health issues and has not thought much about that possibility with so much going on.
"My main concern is my wife and my family and football is secondary," Favre said. "I'm going to continue to do what I do to the best of my ability, but she comes first and our kids come first and whatever I have to do to let her know that. We've talked about everything in the last couple of weeks, but she's been steadfast that, 'Hey, you go out there and if there's anything you can do for me it's to play and play well,' and that's her, that's the way she is. And I'm going to do that and what happens after this year I have no idea."