- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 20, 2003

Despite a lingering foot injury that forced him to miss practice yesterday and could ultimately require offseason surgery, Washington Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey still expects to start Sunday night against the Miami Dolphins.

“I hope so,” Ramsey said yesterday, his right foot encased in a protective boot. “I’ve played, what, 10 games so far on it, so I hope that I will be able to. … I’m expecting to play as of this point.”

The Redskins are officially saying Ramsey has a bruised fifth metatarsal — a bone on the outside of his right foot — and are listing him as questionable for Sunday’s game. Backup Tim Hasselbeck took all the snaps during practice yesterday and is in line to make his first career start if Ramsey can’t play.

The injury, which was revealed Monday as a fracture, has been bothering Ramsey since training camp. He has started every game this season without experiencing any significant pain, but said his foot “started flaring up” two weeks ago against Seattle. Ramsey received a cortisone shot on Monday, with the hope that it will help ease the pain in time for Sunday’s game.

“It’s something we’ve dealt with all year. This is just the worst of it so far,” Ramsey said. “It’s getting better. It’s better than it was yesterday. But thus far, I’ve been able to play with it. And I don’t foresee anything different, unless it stays the way it is right now for the remainder of the week.”

Even if he plays this week, Ramsey will likely be hampered by the injury the rest of the season. After taking X-rays and consulting with the medical staff at Tulane University, where Ramsey played from 1998 to 2001, Redskins team doctors believe Ramsey has had the fracture for years, perhaps even since he was born.

He likely bruised the bone where it was trying to heal during training camp, then re-aggravated it in recent weeks. Redskins athletic trainer Dean Kleinschmidt said he plans to talk to a foot and ankle specialist and confirmed that Ramsey might need surgery once the season is over.

“It’s a possibility,” Ramsey said.

With the bruise hampering his ability to plant his back foot as he throws the ball, Ramsey struggled through one of his worst games of the season Sunday, going 16 of 35 for 150 yards in Washington’s 20-17 loss at Carolina. He was sacked three times and overthrew several passes but has been reluctant to blame the injury for his ineffectiveness.

The team has considered sitting Ramsey for a week or two, but it’s not known whether extended rest would help. Besides, the second-year quarterback, who has lined up for all but a handful of plays this year despite a plethora of minor injuries, has no intention of taking a break.

“I don’t want to do that until I have to,” Ramsey said. “It limits me a little bit, but I think I can still perform. Until I can’t perform, I want to stay out there and play.”

“He should be fine by the weekend,” coach Steve Spurrier said. “If not, Tim Hasselbeck practiced this week and he knows what to do. … We don’t have to make [a decision] until this weekend. But Patrick, we think, should be able to practice a little bit tomorrow or the next day.”

Ramsey’s teammates and coaches fully expect him to suit up Sunday night.

“I have no reason to believe he won’t,” tackle and close friend Jon Jansen said.

“If there is a chance, he’ll play,” offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. “There are some guys who can’t handle a little pain and play. I don’t believe that about him.”

With Ramsey wearing a sweatsuit and limited to only a few light tosses, Hasselbeck took the reins of the Redskins’ offense. The 25-year-old journeyman said he has a much better grasp of the Fun ‘n’ Gun offense than he did when he first arrived three weeks ago and is prepared to make his first career start if called upon.

“I feel comfortable enough that if I have to get in there, I can do the things I need to do to move the offense,” said Hasselbeck, who completed two of three passes for 20 yards during his brief appearance against Dallas Nov.2. “I know Patrick’s foot is hurting him right now, but he’s such a competitor and such a tough guy, it’s going to take a lot to keep him off the field. My guess is that he’ll be ready to go, but if not, I’ll be ready to do the same.”

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