- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 8, 2006

No Washington Redskin was happier than David Patten to be on the practice field yesterday.

Patten, who began feeling ill on the evening of July 30, was diagnosed with viral meningitis two days later and remained hospitalized until being released Thursday.

“It was a rough scare for a couple days,” said Patten, a starter in 2005 who’s expected to be the No.4 receiver this year following the additions of Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El. “I thank the Lord I have my strength back. Now it’s just a matter of easing into this thing.”

Patten, 31, isn’t sure how he became infected but suspects he wore down during the six weeks he was back home in South Carolina before training camp.

“[That] Saturday evening, it just felt like a headache I could sleep off, [but] when I woke up [on July[TFI]31] it just got worse, and when it was time to check in [for training camp] it was kind of full-blown,” Patten said. “The first three or four days, I was so sick. The worst part of it was three days of migraine headaches nonstop. I was taking pain medication, and nothing was taking it away. On top of that you have a fever, and my neck was totally stiff. It was truly a rough experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

Coach Joe Gibbs was pleased to have Patten back but noted, “It will take a while before we give him any serious work.”

That could keep Patten, who hasn’t played since tearing cartilage in his right knee Nov.13 at Tampa Bay, out of Sunday night’s preseason opener at Cincinnati. He finished with just 22 catches, no touchdowns and a career-low 9.9-yard average.

“I’m a week behind,” Patten said. “I expect by the time Thursday or Friday rolls around, I should be back into the full swing of things. [Facing the Bengals] depends on what [the coaches] will allow me to do. If it was up to me, I’ll be out there.”

Molinaro injures knee

Jim Molinaro, the leading backup offensive tackle, was carted off the field during practice with what director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer suspects is a torn meniscus of the left knee. If the MRI reveals that injury, Molinaro will undergo arthroscopic surgery and likely would miss several weeks.

In Molinaro’s absence, 2005 practice squad member Jon Alston, CFL product Jonta Woodard and rookie free agent Chris Pino are the backup tackles, leaving the Redskins thinner than tissue paper behind starters Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen.

Also, former Maryland safety Dennard Wilson, who missed all of 2004 after breaking a leg, injured a meniscus in Saturday’s scrimmage against Baltimore and will be scoped tomorrow.

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