- The Washington Times - Friday, September 16, 2005

Shuffling around Redskin Park on crutches yesterday, defensive tackle Brandon Noble is optimistic he can return from his left knee injury in four to six weeks. Noble underwent surgery Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C., to remove loose cartilage.

“It was a little bit worse than we initially thought because there was a bone bruise involved,” he said.

Noble missed the entire 2003 season when he sustained multiple injuries to his left knee and said this surgery is directly related to his previous surgery.

“It’s probably something that’s been going on for a year,” he said. “When you go in and change the mechanics of the knee and get a new ACL and a replaced MCL, the knee is going to tract differently, so the cartilage wears and wears and wears.”

Noble missed the first two weeks of training camp with a staph infection that developed following right knee surgery. He played in the Redskins’ final two preseason games but felt intense pain in his left knee Sept.8.

Noble said he chipped a hole in the bone near the knee, and cartilage was lodged in the hole, causing the bone bruise.

“About three weeks ago when I first came back, I tweaked it and it swelled up on me, but I was able to play through it,” he said. “Finally [Sept. 8], something gave in, and it got to the point where I couldn’t deal with it.”

Following a week or two of inactivity, Noble will begin rehabilitating.

“It’s getting the bone bruise to calm down and then being able to tolerate the pain,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. I don’t want to have to wait six weeks, but at the same time, I have to be smart about it because I’ve done enough damage to it. I’m only 31 years old, and I want to be able to walk around later.”

Noble played in every game last year and was asked whether another knee surgery has him thinking about the future and retirement.

“I’m not quite there yet,” he said. “I’m just going to get through these next couple weeks and help out as much as I can and hopefully get back on the field toward the second half of the season. After that, we’ll make a decision.”

No fine for Briggs

Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs was not fined by the NFL for his clothesline-like hit on Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey last week. No penalty was called on the play.

“I’m surprised, very surprised,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “Their explanation was that it was definitely a foul, so I figured they were going [to assess a fine]. You’ve got rules, and they should go the same all the way around. You’re supposed to protect the quarterback.”

Hall unlikely to play

Kicker John Hall didn’t practice for the third straight day and was downgraded to doubtful for Monday night’s game at Dallas.

“[Hall] hasn’t done anything yet, so I can’t see that happening,” said Gibbs, who then added, “I wouldn’t totally rule it out.”

Rogers understands role

Rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers had a fine preseason, but veteran Walt Harris got the start against Chicago and is expected to start at Dallas.

“I knew at the end of last week Walt was starting, and [the coaches’] philosophy is to work rookies in,” said Rogers, who started all 25 games at Auburn in 2003-04. “As a player and competitor, you want to start. I was used to being in the mix every snap my whole life. But I understand where the coaches are coming from.”

Old guys visit

At Gibbs’ request, several former Redskins, including Gary Clark, Joe Theismann and Mark May, visited with the team before the regular season.

“Their biggest message was to restore the legacy of the Redskins,” center Casey Rabach said. “They talked a little bit about the Dallas game and what it means to the old Redskins and the fans. They touched on what it was like here during the glory days and what it can be like with a winning team.”

Staff writer David Elfin contributed to this report.

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