- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Washington Redskins nose tackle Jermaine Haley and left guard Dave Fiore said yesterday they are contemplating surgery to repair nagging injuries.

Haley will seek a doctor’s opinion on his fractured right thumb, which he re-aggravated in Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and said “surgery might be an option.” Fiore, who has been inactive the last three weeks with a swollen knee, said he is considering arthroscopic surgery that likely would sideline him for at least another month.

Neither player officially has been ruled out for Sunday’s game at Buffalo — Fiore is listed as doubtful, Haley as questionable — but the Redskins aren’t expecting either to play. Both missed practice yesterday.

“Dave Fiore’s got a bad knee. I don’t know if he’s going to require more surgery or what, but he’s going to be out for a while. The decision will be made later on,” coach Steve Spurrier said. “Jermaine Haley has got a bad thumb. They’re making the decision this week on whether or not to operate or let him try to continue playing.”

The possibility of Haley needing surgery is the more surprising development, considering he’s been able to play the last four weeks with a cast on his right hand after initially injuring himself in the season opener against the New York Jets. Haley re-aggravated the thumb Sunday when he took a direct hit to the cast and continues to experience pain.

“It kind of flared up on me late in the game, and it jolted some things loose,” he said. “I want to see if it goes down a little bit, try to rest it as much as I can. If I’m capable of playing, I’ll play.”

If it’s determined that Haley cannot play Sunday, he likely would undergo surgery before the end of the week, with hopes of returning for the Redskins’ next game (Nov. 2 at Dallas). Washington has a bye next week.

“We need to make [the decision] quick,” Haley said. “Either I’m going to play in this game and [have surgery] next week, or I’m not going to play in this game and we’re going to get the surgery done right away.”

Martin Chase would start at nose tackle in Haley’s place, with Lional Dalton activated for the first time in four weeks to back him up.

After missing his third straight game with the lingering knee injury, Fiore said he did not plan to undergo surgery. But he said yesterday for the first time that doctors have discussed the possibility of the arthroscopic surgery, a minor procedure that would potentially allow him to return this season.

“We’ll probably do something with medication, and we’re still discussing some sort of clean-up procedure,” said Fiore, who added that the surgery could take place within a couple of days. “We want to use this week and next week to make a big push to come back in two weeks. … We want to take advantage of this time [with the upcoming bye week] as best as possible.”

Notes — Running back Trung Canidate does not expect to play Sunday because of a mild high ankle sprain. He is hopeful that two weeks of rest will allow him to return for the Dallas game. “With an injury like this, rest is definitely going to benefit me,” Canidate said. “It’s something you don’t want to have lingering all year.” Spurrier said rookie Sultan McCullough likely will serve as Ladell Betts’ backup. …

Cornerback Fred Smoot officially was deemed out for Sunday’s game with a fractured sternum and bruised chest. He’s expected to miss three to four weeks, with rookie Rashad Bauman taking his place and safety David Terrell moving over to play nickelback. “The bad thing is, there’s nothing I can do,” Smoot said. “I can’t rehab. I’ve just got to wait and wait until I’m to the point I feel I can play again.” …

Guard Randy Thomas, defensive end Bruce Smith and linebacker Jeremiah Trotter sat out practice yesterday. All three veterans routinely have been taking days off to rest nagging injuries. The absence of Thomas and Fiore on the offensive line left the Redskins with a first-team guard duo of rookie Derrick Dockery and seldom-used Lennie Friedman. Spurrier said Friedman likely will see some playing time Sunday. …

More reason for the Redskins to be frustrated over their latest loss: They produced both the NFC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week in Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson and defensive end Simeon Rice.

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