- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 29, 2000


Washington Redskins quarterback Brad Johnson needed only five minutes yesterday to reaccustom himself after a week off. The infected toe was no longer bothersome as Johnson prepared to start against the Carolina Panthers in Sunday's regular-season opener.
"I just need to work off all those cheeseburgers I've been eating the last few weeks," he said. "It was good to come back a day early and get in the rhythm. My arm feels fresh after taking a week off."
The Redskins practiced for nearly two hours before taking their traditional Tuesday off. That the team has prepared regularly for Carolina the last two weeks made the practice less important than usual. The players have long known many of the schemes to be used against the Panthers that weren't shown during public practices.
"I understand all the plays we run," Johnson said. "The biggest thing is being in the huddle, being comfortable. That comes back in five minutes."
Johnson taped up the toe that first bothered him in mid-July. It became inflamed Aug. 17 and nearly caused him to miss playing at Cleveland two days later. Johnson resumed taking antibiotics and remained in bed for four days before throwing lightly for a few minutes Saturday.
Coach Norv Turner said he just wanted Johnson to slip back into the routine during the initial workout.
"You want him to run around and make sure nothing's wrong," Turner said. "He was certainly able to do that."
Meanwhile, defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson and linebacker Shawn Barber returned to practice after suffering sprained knees. Wilkinson missed two games, while Barber was sidelined for one. Both will play against Carolina.
Wilkinson underwent laser therapy, which is popular in Canada and Europe. The five-minute, twice daily sessions promote deep tissue regeneration as a supplement to rehabilitation. The experimental treatment is used in only a handful of U.S. cities.
"It's just real stiff if I stand around too long," Wilkinson said. "I was doubting myself and how well my knee would be nervous and scared at the same time but running as hard as I could today with time to get better has me happy with where I'm at. I was able to run around, plant, go both directions. That adds more confidence."
Running back Skip Hicks remains day-to-day with a mild sprained right knee but continued to work out in the weight room and was on the field for non-contact drills. Linebackers LaVar Arrington (sprained, bruised ankles) and Kevin Mitchell (sprained ankle) and running back Chad Dukes (sprained knee) practiced.
The Redskins are also encouraged by center Cory Raymer's recovery from two strained knee ligaments Aug. 13. While team officials won't assess Raymer's readiness for another two weeks, he could play by early October.

Tre's out

The Redskins missed suspended guard Tre Johnson's presence during practice. He can't attend meetings or workouts until Monday because of his one-game suspension for striking an official during a playoff game last year. Guard Jay Leeuwenburg will start in place of Johnson.
"It's like when Darrell Green was gone for 10 days [because of his father's death]," Turner said. "When you don't have one of your leaders, one of your best players, it does make a difference."

Extra points

Defensive tackles Del Cowsette and Jerry DeLoach, receiver Derrius Thompson, guard Ryan Kalich and fullback Bryan Johnson were named to the practice squad… . Cornerback Lloyd Harrison switched his uniform number from 46 to 41… . Fullback Larry Centers remained out to attend his grandfather's funeral… . Only 30 of 53 players return from last year's NFC East champions. Just six players tight end James Jenkins, running back Stephen Davis, receiver Michael Westbrook, Green, Raymer and Tre Johnson remain from 1996. Nine players remain from 1997 and 17 from 1998.

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