The Washington Redskins' defense, which is ranked second in the NFL despite resembling a MASH unit, received good news yesterday on Cornelius Griffin's MRI exam of a hip injury. The defensive tackle missed the second half of Sunday's 17-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. He hasn't been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but must overcome a first-degree strain of the big muscle of his buttocks.

"For the first time we got a good report when we took this MRI of his hip flexor," Coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday. "We kind of were really worried about it last night."

Griffin said yesterday that he was unsure if he could practice tomorrow, but "I'm feeling better." He needs only four tackles and two sacks to set career highs.

Since being selected in the second round of the 2000 draft by the New York Giants, Griffin has been a sturdy player, missing just four games in his NFL career.

Campbell Undergoes Knee Surgery

The Redskins received bad news on linebacker Khary Campbell, who underwent season-ending surgery yesterday after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on the opening kickoff Sunday. "It makes me feel sad," he said, "that we're going through a tough time and I just feel helpless."

The reserve sparkled on special teams, leading the unit in tackles. But just as significant, the loss of Campbell leaves the Redskins with only four healthy linebackers. Gibbs said that the Redskins would mull over their options, perhaps signing a linebacker off another team's practice squad.

"We're kind of doing all our research and homework," Gibbs said.

Linebacker LaVar Arrington (bone bruise) was cryptic about a timetable for his return, not even ruling out Sunday's game. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 21 to fix a torn meniscus that was initially supposed to keep him out from two to four weeks. He spent four days in Birmingham last week to have his knee examined by specialist James Andrews and undergo rehabilitation.

"I'm going to let the doctors make the call," Arrington said. "I keep trying to make my own predictions."

The most important thing in Arrington's situation is to strengthen his quadriceps muscles, said head athletic trainer John Burrell, who described the linebacker's situation as week-to-week. . . .

John Hall was able to simulate a kicking motion Saturday for the first time since suffering a groin injury that caused him to miss the past three games. Hall kicked foam balls at the training facility, although Burrell didn't give an indication that Hall would be ready Sunday. "He's day-to-day instead of week-to-week," Burrell said.

Bengals Coach Says Player Was Spit On

Cincinnati Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis said during his news conference yesterday that one of his players was spit on by a Redskins player. "We had a player spit on yesterday, and that's not right," Lewis said. "Hopefully, the league will do something to cut it out."

When Gibbs was informed of Lewis's allegation, he said he had been unaware of it and didn't comment further.

Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh called Redskins safety Sean Taylor a "punk" after Sunday's game without specifying the reason. The two players verbally sparred throughout the game, and had to be separated at the end of the game. Taylor declined to comment yesterday.