Washington Redskins defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, the team's best run-stopping lineman, missed a third straight day of practice yesterday with a hip injury and likely will not play against the Philadelphia Eagles tomorrow night at FedEx Field.
The team's other starting tackle, Joe Salave'a, said yesterday he plans to play despite a painful foot injury that sidelined him for much of the team's 36-0 loss last Sunday against the New York Giants. "I'll have a lot of treatment, rest and praying," Salave'a said. Asked if the injury was better yesterday, he smiled and said, "My 'better' might be a little different than yourself. . . . I'll use orthotics, taping, whatever. It was a good day out there today."
The Redskins have several options if Griffin, who was listed as doubtful yesterday, can't play. They've been using a 3-4 alignment more frequently lately, and there could be more of the same tomorrow. If they stay in the 4-3, Griffin's place could be taken by backup Cedric Killings, or the team could move one of its defensive ends to the inside against a Philadelphia team that is ranked No. 32 in rushing offense in the NFL.
Defensive end Phillip Daniels, who missed practice Thursday with a sprained ankle, was back for the team's final workout yesterday and said, "I feel pretty good. I've still got a few more days, but I don't feel any pain. With a tape job, I should be okay. I don't want to miss this game."
Offensive tackle Chris Samuels, who left the Giants game with a knee injury in the third quarter, also managed to get through a full practice yesterday. He said he was "still a little sore, but it does feel a whole lot better. I'm looking forward to playing."
Quarterback Mark Brunell (calf) was listed as probable. He was held out of practice as a precaution, according to a team spokesman, and is expected to start on Sunday. . . .
Tight end Robert Royal (calf), practiced yesterday for the first time this week and was listed as questionable. . . . Backup safety Omar Stoutmire (hamstring) was downgraded from questionable to doubtful.
Last-Minute Call on Novak
Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said the team again will go to the "last minute" deciding the fate of rookie kicker Nick Novak. Last week against the Giants, the Redskins activated kicker John Hall on Sunday and put Novak on their game-day inactive list. This week, the decision likely will be the same, and Gibbs has said this also will probably be the last week the team retains two kickers on the roster. Barring another injury to Hall, who hasn't played since the season opener because of a quadriceps injury, Novak likely will be the odd man out next week. . . .
David Akers, the Eagles' Pro Bowl kicker, likely will be activated for the first time since Week 3 when he tore a hamstring muscle in his kicking leg. Jose Cortez, acquired last week after being waived by Dallas, will handle kickoffs.