Linebacker LaVar Arrington yesterday missed his second straight practice recovering from a knee injury. The team listed him as out for Sunday's game against Green Bay, although Arrington did not rule out that he would play.
"You never know," Arrington said. "Miracles happen, man. Ask the  Olympic U.S. hockey team."
Arrington underwent minor surgery on his right knee in late September and was projected to miss two to four weeks. He has missed four games and suffered a setback at practice Monday when he slipped and strained the knee. Arrington said the injury has responded well to treatment, and he continues to study film and work out as much as possible.
"I could never have imagined this injury would last this long," Arrington said. "But for whatever reason it is God has deemed it to be this long, so I'll be a soldier and a warrior about it throughout. I'm not going to complain and get down on the fact that it's taken a little bit longer than I expected. I thought I would be back three weeks ago, maybe two weeks ago, but it's not worked out that way."
Linebacker Mike Barrow, out all season with a knee tendon problem, made it through a full practice yesterday but was downgraded to doubtful for Sunday. Tight end Fred Baxter, who was signed this week, will not play because of a hamstring injury. Kicker John Hall is also out with a groin injury, and free agent Ola Kimrin will handle kicking duties. Cornerback Fred Smoot (shoulder), return specialist Chad Morton (knee) and tackle Chris Samuels (ankle) were again listed as probable.
Barrow's knee has made steady progress this week, as has the torn groin of defensive end Phillip Daniels, who missed the last four games. Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, said Daniels could play Sunday but that it will be a difficult decision determining how many plays he could take part in.
Williams said that today's practice will be "pivotal" to Barrow's chances of returning. "That would be a luxury to have him back," Williams said. "But we'll wait and see."
The Redskins' defense ranks first in the NFL despite losing several key players. Washington will be without both starting safeties Sunday, with strong safety Matt Bowen out for the season with a knee injury and rookie free safety Sean Taylor inactive after being arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated early yesterday and missing practice.
Pack Running on All Cylinders
Green Bay has one of the best running attacks in the NFL and uses a system based on the same principles that Coach Joe Gibbs originally installed during his first stint in Washington. Running back Ahman Green is often the only back in the backfield -- Washington often has an H-back in place as well -- and the Packers use the counter-trey and other inside plays the Redskins used in their run to three Super Bowl titles. "There's no doubt about that," Williams said. "Since we got here there's been so many times in the meeting that Coach Gibbs has talked about how impressive and how impressed he has been with the Green Bay running game and it's rightfully so. He's seen an awful lot of that film in their exchanges on that side of the ball getting ready for defenses." Overall, Green Bay has the league's second-ranked offense, giving Washington's defense its biggest test to date.
Diedrick Replaces McCullough
The Redskins cut running back Sultan McCullough from the practice squad Wednesday and signed running back Dahrran Diedrick to take his place. Diedrick (6 feet, 225 pounds) was an undrafted rookie free agent from Nebraska in 2003 and spent time on Green Bay's practice squad prior to being released in August. McCullough had spent the last two seasons with Washington, primarily on the practice squad.