Wide receiver David Patten missed yesterday's practice, the Washington Redskins' first day of preparation for their game Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, with a sore knee and was listed as doubtful on the injury report.
Patten also missed a day of practice last week because of what Coach Joe Gibbs described as an "irritation" in his knee but was able to play the entire game, catching three passes for 24 yards against Tampa Bay. He is the Redskins' third-leading receiver with 22 catches, none for touchdowns.
Gibbs did not sound especially optimistic about Patten's chances to play against the Raiders. He said Patten was going to see his own doctor about the knee problem, and that he would know more about his status later in the week. Patten was not available to comment after practice.
If Patten can't play, the Redskins likely will replace him with James Thrash, who has 13 receptions and no touchdowns. Taylor Jacobs also is likely to receive action in multiple-receiver formations. Jacobs had a toe problem earlier in the year that kept him inactive for the season opener against Chicago and has caught two passes for 33 yards in a reserve role in the last eight games.
Gibbs said he may also bring up a wide receiver from the practice squad -- either Rich Parson, an undrafted free agent from Maryland, or Steven Harris, an undrafted free agent from Arkansas -- if Patten can't play.
Running back and return man Ladell Betts, who sprained his knee in the Tampa Bay game, was one of six players unable to practice yesterday. He didn't realize the extent of the injury until he woke up stiff and sore Monday morning.
"I took a hit on a kickoff return in the third quarter," Betts said. "It kind of felt a little funny. After the game I said something to the trainers and the doctor. Basically I was playing on a sprained MCL [medial collateral ligament]. It's the first time I've ever had damage to my knee before. . . . It's just a minor setback. Right now, I'm not ruling it out" playing Sunday.
Betts was listed as questionable along with defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (hip) and safety Sean Taylor (ankle). Gibbs said he hoped Taylor might be able to practice today. He missed the Bucs game, and Griffin has not played in most of the last three games since being on the field for two plays against the Giants last month.
If Betts can't play, Gibbs likely will use Thrash as the primary kickoff return man along with Rock Cartwright, who also will move up on the depth chart at running back to give starter Clinton Portis an occasional break.
Defensive tackle Joe Salave'a (foot) and defensive end Phillip Daniels (elbow) sat out practice but are listed as probable.
Seven current Redskins, including 42-year-old offensive lineman Ray Brown, played for Raiders Coach Norv Turner when Turner coached the Redskins from 1994 until he was fired with three games left in 2000.
"Norv was a great guy," Brown said. "I enjoyed playing for him. I think he's a tremendous coach. It's unfortunate he didn't have a long enough tenure here to get us back in the playoffs."
Still, Brown said that when Turner, a former Dallas Cowboys assistant, arrived and brought several former Cowboys with him as free agents, he was not pleased.
"When you sign up here, you're supposed to hate the Cowboys," Brown said. "The thing that got me was when they brought in [safety] James Washington. He was not a Redskin. I don't think that group [of former Cowboys] understood who we were. They came in here with some arrogance, like, 'We're going to show you how we did it in Dallas.' That didn't work around here."