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Banged-up Redskins lose Anderson, Simpson for year
ASHBURN, Va. | As if 16 injured players aren’t enough, the Washington Redskins find themselves dealing with a bizarre, 17th medical calamity.
“I knew things were going bad,” coach Mike Shanahan said Monday, “when one of our trainers got a serious injury at halftime.”
Associate trainer Eric Steward, who was supposed to taking care of the plethora of walking wounded, himself became a patient when he slipped and messed up his knee during Sunday’s 19-16 overtime victory over the Tennessee Titans. He was having an MRI on Monday.
It was that kind of game for the Redskins (5-5), who pulled off one of the team’s gustiest victories in recent memory. They somehow patched together viable lineups on both sides of the ball while dealing with a staggering series of pregame and in-game injuries, with seven regular starters among the ailing.
By the time the winning field goal was kicked, Washington was using a tackle as a guard and a fullback as a backup running back. Another player who started at guard ended up at center.
The league’s bottom-ranked defense began the day without two starting defensive backs and lost two starting linebackers during the game — yet held the Titans without an offensive touchdown. The patched-up offensive line generated season-highs in total yards (465), first downs (32) and time of possession (40:09).
It helped that the Redskins‘ injuries were trumped by one big Titans setback. The tone of the game was changed when Vince Young hurt his right thumb in the third quarter and was replaced by rookie sixth-round draft pick Rusty Smith, who was understandably underwhelming in his NFL debut. Tennessee’s defense also melted down in overtime, committing back-to-back personal foul penalties on the winning drive.
“It’s one of those crazy situations,” said safety Reed Doughty, who ended up having to play every snap on both defense and special teams. “You really don’t know what’s going to happen. Can you prepare for that? No.”
Players used the word “crazy” on Monday as often as they had used “embarrassed” to describe the 59-28 loss to Philadelphia a week earlier. But while embarrassments can often be overcome with a good mindset and hard work, injuries are much more problematic. The roster is in dire shape, and there’s no telling who will be in uniform for next week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Here’s the day-after rundown:
— Clinton Portis, who had missed five games with torn left groin, reaggravated the injury after just five first-half carries. He was scheduled for an MRI and will meet with doctors to determine the severity of the setback.
— Running back Chad Simpson and safety Anderson Russell were placed on season-ending injured reserve. Simpson broke a bone in his foot warming up before the game, while Russell tore the ACL in his right knee during the game.
With Portis, Torain and Simpson all hurt, Keiland Williams and Darrel Young — already a convert from linebacker to fullback — took the carries at tailback for the rest of the game. Running back James Davis was signed from the practice squad on Monday to fill Simpson’s spot.
— Center Casey Rabach has a sprained MCL in his right knee. Shanahan doesn’t think Rabach will need surgery and left open the chance of the veteran playing against the Vikings. More likely, Rabach will miss one to two games.
By Bob Dole
The industrious island has proved itself worthy of U.S. inclusion
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