Starting wide receiver David Patten underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee yesterday and won't play again this season for the Washington Redskins. Coach Joe Gibbs said Patten would be placed on injured reserve and replaced in the lineup by third-year receiver Taylor Jacobs tomorrow against the Oakland Raiders at FedEx Field.
Patten did not miss a start this season, but had been bothered by knee pain for about the last four weeks, according to Bubba Tyer, the team's director of sports medicine. Acquired in free agency in the offseason after spending the last four years with the New England Patriots, Patten consulted with Patriots team physician Bertram Zarins on Thursday. The surgery was performed yesterday morning at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Tyer said the procedure involved repairing a slightly torn meniscus (cartilage) in Patten's knee, and there was no ligament damage. He said Patten had a similar tear two years ago, but that he was expected to make a full recovery. The recovery time for the latest surgery was expected to be six weeks; the Redskins had initially thought he might only be out two weeks until the surgery indicated a more serious problem.
"We were hoping that they only had to clean it out, but they had to go in and repair it," Gibbs said. "There was nothing serious, but it's six weeks. . . . It's a minor repair, but it will take awhile."
Gibbs said James Thrash will continue in his role as a third option in multiple-receiver sets. The team also signed rookie wide receiver Rich Parson off its practice squad, and he could also see some action as a receiver and a kickoff return man.
Meantime, Gibbs said that reserve running back Ladell Betts, the team's lead kickoff returner, was downgraded to doubtful with a sprained right knee and likely will not play tomorrow. Thrash, who plays on all the special teams and is the main punt returner, also will be used on kickoffs tomorrow.
Jacobs has only started four games, all last season when he had a career-high 16 catches for 178 yards. In the season finale against Minnesota, he had three catches for 56 yards, including a career-long 45-yard reception to set up a touchdown. This year he had a toe problem in preseason and was inactive in the season opener, but said he's now healthy and finally looking forward to seeing extended playing time.
"It's an opportunity," Jacobs said yesterday. "I never want to play when another person goes down. I'll just go out there and give it my best shot. I've been playing, so I've had a chance. It just feels good to step into a role where I'll be on the field a lot more. I know Santana [Moss] has been the big dog, but whatever they want me to do, I'll do."
Parson, an undrafted free agent, was in the receivers' mix this summer and impressed the coaches. He was a valuable return man and part-time receiver at the University of Maryland, where he also earned a degree in family studies, and was planning to become a marriage counselor if he couldn't continue his football career.
"It's the opportunity of a lifetime," he said, a few minutes after signing a rookie contract. "The coaches had me in there all week. They didn't actually tell me [he'd be promoted to the active roster]. But the way they talked to me and prepared me, I had to be ready to take care of business. . . . I do anticipate bringing some kickoffs back. My thing is to keep a level head and be ready for whatever."
Redskins Notes: Though defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin did some limited work on the field yesterday and was listed as questionable, Gibbs said he did not think he would be ready to play tomorrow. Griffin has missed the last two games and all but two plays against the Giants with a hip flexor injury, but could be ready next week to face the San Diego Chargers. . . .
A league source said Gibbs would not be fined for comments he made Monday about some controversial officiating calls in a 36-35 loss to Tampa Bay last Sunday.