- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2008

Early in his coaching career, Greg Blache said he didn’t worry about injuries, concerned himself only with the healthy players he had at his disposal and concentrated entirely on the game plan.

“I was lying,” he said.

But the Washington Redskins’ defensive coordinator said Wednesday he can’t concern himself with the availability of linebacker London Fletcher, defensive end Andre Carter or defensive tackles Kedric Golston and Cornelius Griffin for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.

“I’ve learned that me worrying won’t make them get well faster,” said Blache, who was without four starters during practice. “All it will make me do is take more Zantac. I worry about the things I can control.”

Fletcher, Carter and Golston all have foot injuries, and Griffin has a shoulder problem. Running back Clinton Portis (knee, hip, rib cage), linebacker Marcus Washington (ankle), left tackle Chris Samuels (knee) and left guard Pete Kendall (knee) also sat out practice.

Coach Jim Zorn said Washington isn’t likely to play and hopes Fletcher - who never missed a game in 10-plus years as a pro - can return.

“If we can’t get him on the field by Friday, I think that would be a problem,” Zorn said. “We would like our starter and our captain in there, but sometimes somebody else has to fill the void.”

H.B. Blades, who started for Washington at strongside linebacker last week, would assume Fletcher’s role.

“I have to be ready to play anywhere,” he said. “The [middle] requires a little more thinking being a little more vocal. Outside linebacker, you can just play because you don’t have to do as much thinking.”

Defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery will return after missing last week because of an Achilles strain. Zorn said Portis is “a little bit better overall” and is expected to play.

Biggest game

Blache called the Pittsburgh game in Week 9 the biggest since he came to the Redskins in 2004. But he has a new big game.

“This is going to make or break our season,” he said. “We still have a chance to win the division, but we have to win on Sunday. … This will tell us who we are. We can talk about wanting to be a championship team and wanting to be in the playoffs, but if we can’t beat one of the better teams at home, then we don’t deserve to be there. …

“Let’s be honest, if we don’t win, we are what we are and probably don’t deserve to win the division or necessarily be in the playoffs.”

Kelly gains confidence

Rookie receiver Malcolm Kelly returned from a five-game absence to catch two passes and play 31 snaps against Seattle.

“It felt good, especially being involved that much and have some plays put in for me,” he said. “I’m still trying to get back to where I was in camp. It’s one thing to practice well, but to actually go into the game against [an] opposing team’s defenders, that really helped out a lot.”

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