The Washington Redskins were without eight regulars for yesterday's practice, and although most are expected to play Sunday against San Diego, Coach Joe Gibbs expressed concern about the team's mounting health problems.
Top defensive lineman Cornelius Griffin (hip flexor) was able to do more drill work yesterday, but remains questionable, as does running back Ladell Betts (knee). Linebacker LaVar Arrington (thigh), tackle Chris Samuels (knee), safety Sean Taylor (ankle), safety Ryan Clark (ankle) and defensive tackle Joe Salave'a (foot) were listed as probable.
Gibbs said that quarterback Mark Brunell was rested for a portion of the practice because of a groin problem, but he was not listed on the injury report and is scheduled to play, although more rest might be required.
H-back Mike Sellers (ribs) and receiver James Thrash (hamstring) are out, depleting the return specialist position. The lack of healthy bodies has an impact on practice scenarios and game preparation, and with the Redskins in a 2-5 slump and needing a win over the Chargers, Gibbs is worried about the situation.
"We've got a very large injury list there," Gibbs said. "We're just going to have to go through the week here and see what happens It's not good, it's not something you want. So the medical team is going to have to do a good job for us this week."
While most of the players at least watched practice, Samuels never made it outside while receiving treatment. Gibbs said that Thrash's injury could linger beyond this week, as could Sellers's.
Sellers Still Hurting
Sellers hobbled around Redskins Park in considerable pain yesterday, his first full day back after being released from the hospital. He took a hard hit to the back from Raiders linebacker Isaiah Ekejiuba covering a punt Sunday -- Ekejiuba was penalized on the play -- then raced back on the field and took a penalty exacting some revenge on the ensuing punt before receiving medical attention.
Sellers suffered a fractured rib but had no kidney damage, as originally feared, and spoke about the incident yesterday for the first time. He said he does not expect Ekejiuba to be fined despite it being an illegal clip, and regrets costing the team 10 yards in his retaliation. "My emotions were running high," Sellers said, "and I let my anger get the best of me. I intentionally didn't plan on getting a penalty, to be honest with you I just snapped. I just snapped."
Sellers said the entire left side of his chest cavity and his back remain in pain. "It scared the heck out of me," Sellers said. "At one point in time, I couldn't even breathe, but once I got to the hospital and they did the test to let me know what was going on I felt a lot better."
Gibbs said he agonized over cutting reserve offensive lineman Lennie Friedman, a seven-year veteran, to make room for signing receiver Antonio Brown, going through two staff meetings to discuss alternatives. The Redskins also signed receiver Carl Kearney to the practice squad yesterday. . . .
Players report at 6 a.m. today and conclude practice before noon for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Chargers Unsure About Gates
The Chargers probably won't know until just before kickoff Sunday whether record-setting tight end Antonio Gates will be able to play against the Redskins.
Gates wasn't able to test his sprained right foot when the Chargers returned to practice yesterday, but remained hopeful he'll be able to play.
-- Associated Press