Starting free safety Sean Taylor said yesterday he does not expect to play for the Washington Redskins tomorrow at Tampa Bay because of a lingering ankle injury.
The Redskins had hoped that Taylor would return for yesterday's practice, but he was in too much pain to participate, leading Coach Joe Gibbs to essentially rule him out for the upcoming game. Veteran safety Pierson Prioleau likely will start in place of Taylor.
"I ain't playing," said Taylor, who left Redskins Park yesterday in a walking cast. "We'll see, but as of now, I don't think so, I can't go right now."
Taylor has never missed a game in his pro, college or high school career because of injury. He had not practiced much in recent weeks, resting his ankle for games, but aggravated the condition in last Sunday's game. Medical tests Thursday night revealed no major structural problems, Gibbs said, but with Taylor in so much discomfort the coaches are planning on the 22-year-old being inactive. He is listed as questionable.
"You've got to be 100 percent mentally ready to hit people," Gibbs said. "And you can't do that if you're worried about something."
Starting defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (hip flexor) also missed practice all week and he too is likely to sit out tomorrow, Gibbs said. Versatile end-tackle Demetric Evans is expected to fill in for Griffin, who is listed as questionable.
Gibbs said that reserve safety Omar Stoutmire, who missed practice all week with a hamstring injury, should be able to play, and wide receiver David Patten, who also missed practice after twisting his knee Thursday, is listed as probable and slated to start.
The Redskins are facing one of the league's dormant offenses this week. Starting quarterback Chris Simms has a weak 69.5 passer rating with two touchdowns and four interceptions. The Buccaneers rank 21st in overall offense and 25th in passing.
Taylor finished second on Washington with four interceptions last season to go with 89 tackles. He has one of the team's four interceptions this season as the defense has struggled to create turnovers.
Taylor, the fifth overall pick of the 2004 draft, contributed immediately as a rookie and has the instincts and athleticism to make game-changing plays. He missed one game last season due to a suspension for a DUI arrest (he was later acquitted). This season, Taylor has delivered several big hits, although sometimes sacrificing the proper positioning to do so. The Florida native has a contingent of family traveling to Tampa for the game.
"I definitely would like to show up and play, but my family is still coming out to support the Redskins," Taylor said. "Just because I ain't playing don't mean they won't support the Redskins."
Griffin, one of the NFL's elite linemen in 2004, has missed several weeks of practice and did some individual work yesterday but, "I don't think he's ready yet," Gibbs said. Griffin was able to participate in two plays against New York before leaving the game and was inactive last Sunday.
Defensive linemen Joe Salave'a (foot) and Phillip Daniels (ankle) remain probable and both are expected to start tomorrow. Defensive lineman Cedric Killings (knee) is probable, and he missed last week's game with that injury as well, meaning reserves Aki Jones, Ryan Boschetti and Nic Clemons are likely to fill out the roster again after strong performances against Philadelphia.