- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Four days after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington predicted he might beat the projected recovery period of two-to-four weeks and be back in “a week and a half.”

Yesterday, more than five weeks after that surgery, the Redskins revealed their still-ailing Pro Bowl linebacker will wind up being sidelined more than half the season.

Arrington is expected to miss another four weeks after an MRI on Wednesday revealed a bone bruise on top of the fibula in his right leg. Club officials don’t believe the bruise is related to the knee strain Arrington suffered in practice last week. In any case, Arrington was reeling from the news he could miss nine or more of Washington’s 16 games.

“I’m down right now,” Arrington said as he exited Redskin Park last night. “This is uncharted territory for me. I’ve never had to deal with this before.”

Arrington’s setback wasn’t the only unfortunate injury news. Return man Chad Morton and safety Andre Lott both will miss the remainder of the season — Morton with a torn ACL in his right knee and Lott with a torn pectoral muscle. In addition, a variety of other players are nursing less serious injuries.

The ailments represent another significant blow to the Redskins (2-5), who have lost four of their past five games, including Sunday’s 28-14 defeat to the Green Bay Packers.

“Any more bad news?” director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said with a grimace. “That’s enough.”

Arrington’s latest setback follows the strain he suffered in practice Oct. 25 while attempting some light agility drills. That day club officials emphasized Arrington suffered no structural damage to the knee he originally hurt Sept. 20 against the Giants. In fact, it was said the loosened scar tissue in his knee might accelerate the healing process.

But an MRI two days later uncovered the bone bruise. Tyer believes the bruise predates the Oct. 25 strain and wasn’t worsened by Arrington’s attempt to return to practice. Regardless, Arrington clearly is taking a more deliberate approach to rehab in the wake of his latest setback.

“I guess the biggest thing is to do what they tell you and hope something changes for the better,” Arrington said. “I won’t go out there and try to force the issue anymore. I think that’s what hurt me a little right now.”

Arrington won’t have another MRI for at least 10 days. Tyer acknowledged Arrington’s usual zeal to get back on the field but said it’s important to give the bone bruise time to heal.

“When he starts feeling good, he gets anxious to play,” Tyer said. “We expect that and admire that. But at the same time, he needs to know the seriousness of this. He was told that in a meeting we all had with him. We don’t want to rush it.”

Given all the aggravation of the past month, Arrington wonders whether the original Sept. 23 surgery to repair a torn meniscus was worth it.

“Part of me says I wouldn’t have done it if knew this was going to [happen],” Arrington said. “I would have tried to play through it. [But] who’s to say I wouldn’t have got hurt worse? I don’t know. … It’s tough to swallow.”

Morton, meanwhile, underwent an MRI yesterday evening, and though the results were not immediately known, the Redskins conceded he tore the ACL in his right knee and will miss the rest of the season.

Tyer said Morton, who hurt himself on a first-quarter kickoff return Sunday, will rest for the next 10 days or so and then undergo reconstructive surgery to repair the torn ligament.

“Yesterday, we were real close to breaking some [long returns with Morton],” coach Joe Gibbs said. “We’re going to miss him.”

With Morton on the shelf, the Redskins likely will use Ladell Betts on kickoff returns and James Thrash on punt returns the rest of the year.

Lott’s injury, which occurred when he tried to tackle Green Bay’s Najeh Davenport on a second-quarter kickoff return, hurts the Redskins’ already thin secondary. Starting strong safety Matt Bowen underwent successful season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL on Friday, and starting free safety Sean Taylor sat out Sunday’s game following his DUI arrest.

Lott, who is scheduled to undergo surgery tomorrow, had just gotten over a hamstring injury that sidelined him the previous three weeks.

“It’s frustrating,” said Lott, his left arm in a sling. “I was just getting over the hamstring deal. For something this freaky to happen, this is crazy. But I’ll be all right.”

Among Washington’s other injuries, kicker John Hall (groin) is doubtful to play Sunday at Detroit after doing some light kicking last week. Linebacker Mike Barrow (knee) is scheduled to increase the intensity of his practice work this week and see how his knee reacts.

Left tackle Chris Samuels was wearing a boot at Redskin Park because of bone chips in his ankle but is likely to play. Cornerback Fred Smoot, who fell hard on one of his banged-up shoulders Sunday, won’t see contact in practice but also should play.

Defensive end Phillip Daniels (groin) held up extremely well in his return from a four-game absence and is in line to face the Lions.

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