- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Clinton Portis had shoulder surgery yesterday. Donovan McNabb is due for knee surgery before the end of the year. Jevon Kearse has been on the sideline for three months. And Pierson Prioleau lasted one snap before his season ended.

Four key players for the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, including three stars, are all on injured reserve.

As the NFL enters the final quarter of the season this week, the amount of players on the injured reserve list is normal but still scary.

Entering last weekend’s games, 197 players — an average of 6.2 a team — were on injured reserve. Jacksonville led the league with 14, and San Francisco (one) had the fewest.

The Redskins have four players on injured reserve: Portis; Prioleau, who was slated to start at safety ahead of Adam Archuleta in Week 1 before injuring his knee on the opening kickoff; kicker John Hall (groin); and tight end Christian Fauria (ankle).

The Eagles have seven players on injured reserve. Kearse went down with a knee/leg injury in Week 2, and McNabb tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Week 11.

And rare is the player this late in the season who is 100 percent healthy. On Friday, the league’s official injury report included 218 players. Dallas was the only team with no players on the report.

“A demanding sport,” Redskins defensive end Phillip Daniels said.

Daniels limped off the field after Sunday’s 24-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons and still showed signs of the injury 24 hours later in the Redskins locker room. He had just played his 152nd NFL game.

“My whole body is hurting,” Daniels said. “Ankles, wrist, everything. But I can’t lay down just because I have an injury. If I’m hurt, I’ll do something to block it out and not even think about it on Sunday.”

Daniels missed 11 games in 2004, but when he starts Sunday, it will mark the 10th time in his 11-year career he has played in at least 13 games. But this year he’s had to fight through a series of nagging injuries, from back spasms to wrist and ankle ailments.

The Redskins have lost 44 man-games to injury this season, not counting David Patten’s seven-game absence that included missing games when injured and healthy.

Twenty-seven Redskins have played in all 12 games this season.

“I’m surprised how many guys have so many starts without an injury,” Daniels said. “Those are the fortunate guys. I haven’t been as fortunate and sometimes, I feel the bad luck has found me. But I’m amazed at guys like Bruce Matthews and Brett Favre.”

Matthews, a future Hall of Famer, started 229 games along the offensive line for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, and Favre’s 233 consecutive starts for the Green Bay Packers is the longest streak for a quarterback.

While Favre represents the gold standard for durability in the NFL, McNabb hasn’t been as fortunate. He has sustained season-ending injuries in three times (ankle, sports hernia, knee) in the last five seasons. Jacksonville’s Byron Leftwich (ankle) and Tampa Bay’s Chris Simms (spleen) are the other starting quarterback on injured reserve. Seattle’s Matt Hasselbeck, Oakland’s Aaron Brooks, Kansas City’s Trent Green and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger have also missed time.

Daniels has started every game for the Redskins and will report for work this morning still aching but expecting to be ready for Sunday.

“You feel way different [in December], especially when you’re not winning,” he said. “Early in the year, you feel fresh and you might get into the hot tub for a little while, and that will help take care of the nicks and bruises. But at this point of the season, it doesn’t feel like anything can help you. But I’ll keep fighting.”

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