- The Washington Times - Friday, November 27, 2009

The wave of injuries that has swamped the Washington Redskins now is affecting their most reliable unit, the NFC-best kick coverage teams.

H.B. Blades, who leads the Redskins with 21 special teams tackles, didn’t practice Thursday. That’s a step back for Blades, who was limited in practice Wednesday and hasn’t missed a game this season even though he had his right knee scoped during the bye week.

The Redskins rank third in the league covering kickoffs and eighth covering punts. Only the Baltimore Ravens (second on kickoffs and seventh on punts) rank higher.

Coach Jim Zorn said that Blades, who had fluid drained from the knee after the Redskins’ 7-6 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last week, “just needed a rest.”

Zorn hopes Blades will play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles - his presence is critical for a unit already missing Chris Horton, who suffered a season-ending toe injury three games ago. And Rock Cartwright, who ranks sixth on special teams with eight tackles, has been taken off the kickoff coverage team now that he’s starting at running back.

The defense, meanwhile, might be forced to take the field in Philadelphia without its two Pro Bowl players.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who sprained his right knee in Dallas, didn’t practice again Thursday. That raises the likelihood that Hall will be scratched and Carlos Rogers, who was benched last week, put back in the lineup in his place.

“DeAngelo is very questionable for the game,” said Zorn, who doesn’t expect Hall to play if he can’t practice Friday.

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth hasn’t practiced or played since he was hurt Nov. 15 in a victory over the Denver Broncos. Haynesworth will be a game-time decision for a second straight week.

Kedric Golston, a starter in 2006 and 2008, would continue to fill in for Haynesworth, whose absence greatly diminished the effectiveness of the Redskins’ pass rush against the Cowboys.

Right tackle Stephon Heyer returned to limited practice for the injury-riddled offense, testing the left knee he sprained against the Eagles on Oct. 26.

Backup tight end Todd Yoder sat out Thursday because of a toe he first hurt four weeks ago, but he said he’ll play even if he’s no better by Sunday.

“I’ve been playing with it since I hurt it,” Yoder said. “It didn’t help that we played on turf in Atlanta [on Nov. 8] and Dallas. So it just blew up really bad this week. We’re just trying to get it to go back down.”

Tight end Chris Cooley (ankle) and running back Clinton Portis (concussion) remain out for the long term. And seven players, four of whom were starting when they were hurt, have been placed on injured reserve.

“It’s been that kind of year,” co-captain London Fletcher said.

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