- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Washington Redskins tight end Stephen Alexander will miss at least two weeks, and perhaps as much as a month, after learning yesterday that he has a high ankle sprain.
Alexander, a Pro Bowl selection last season, was injured in the first quarter of Monday's 9-7 loss at Dallas. He hopes to miss only a week or two but high ankle sprains are painful injuries that can be slow to heal.
Rookie cornerback Fred Smoot also is likely to be out for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. He suffered a painful injury to his lower left leg at Dallas. Smoot left Redskin Park on crutches yesterday afternoon and underwent an MRI, the results of which were not available.
Coach Marty Schottenheimer said Smoot's preliminary X-rays were negative for a fracture and he was confident that there was no ligament damage.
Other news on Washington's extensive injury front was a bit uplifting. Defensive end Marco Coleman (elbow) will try to practice this week, meaning there is a small chance he will play against the Panthers, and defensive end Bruce Smith (shoulder) hopes to return for the Oct. 28 game against the New York Giants.
Alexander was blocking for running back Stephen Davis when a player fell on his right lower leg. The tight end "heard something snap" and thought he broke his leg.
A high ankle sprain could sideline Alexander until the Nov. 11 open date, which would make his return Nov. 18 at Denver. Yesterday, though, he was far more optimistic despite leaving Redskin Park on crutches.
"Hopefully, I'll heal quickly," Alexander said. "I'm getting a lot of treatment on it."

Worst by a lot
The Redskins' offense generated a season-high 226 yards in Monday's defeat but continues to rank No. 31 dead last in the NFL. And it appears that Washington has no chance of even finishing the year second-to-last. The team's average of 184.6 yards is more than 70 yards less than No. 30 Dallas' (255.0).
Schottenheimer, however, remains confident that the offense can succeed with Tony Banks at quarterback, saying third-down conversions are the key problem. The Redskins have converted just 22 percent of their third downs.
"Third down has been our problem, and it has been our problem since the beginning of the preseason," Schottenheimer said.
Schottenheimer also expressed confidence in Davis, whose fumble with 2:40 remaining Monday set up the Cowboys' game-winning drive, which ended in a 26-yard field goal by Tim Seder as time expired. Davis, who had season-highs of 23 carries for 99 yards Monday, also fumbled three times in the opening loss at San Diego.
"What happened [Monday], it was unfortunate," Schottenheimer said. "I felt terrible for him. He put on a tremendous performance, and on that play he stumbled on the turf. As he tried to get up into the hole and make his cut he still hadn't gotten his balance. Stephen understands that he can't do that. I have no concern about his ability to take care of the football."
The Redskins rank last in several other offensive categories, notably scoring (6.4 points per game).

Extra points
The Redskins signed defensive back Kato Serwanga, a two-year veteran who was one of the New England Patriots' final cuts. With the injury to Smoot, he will help shore up the secondary. Rookie running back Kenny Watson was released and likely will join the practice squad, from which safety Martavius Houston was let go. …
Washington's defense continues to surrender the most rushes per game in the NFL. Dallas' total of 45 rushes Monday including five on the game-winning drive raised the Redskins' average to 42.8 rushes allowed per game.


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