- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Washington Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers declared himself out of Sunday’s game at Indianapolis because of a broken right thumb that required surgery and the insertion of three pins on Monday.

His arm in a sling, Rogers is hopeful he can return for the Redskins’ Nov. 5 game against Dallas. Washington has a bye next week.

Rogers said he jammed the thumb in the first half against Tennessee and broke it in the third quarter when he tackled Travis Henry.

“The bye week is going to help a lot,” said Rogers, who will get a new cast on Monday. “I’ve broke this thumb before and missed one game before coming back. I’ll probably have it numbed up for the game and I’ll be ready for the Cowboys.”

The Redskins have operated short-handed in the secondary all season. Shawn Springs made his season debut against the Titans.

Rogers’ absence could mean Kenny Wright and Mike Rumph could start and Springs and newcomer Troy Vincent will play bigger roles. Vincent said he worked at safety during yesterday’s walkthrough, but he started his career as a cornerback.

“I’ve got a good feel for what the corners are doing here,” he added.

In other injury news, defensive tackles Joe Salave’a (calf) and Cornelius Griffin (hip) and receiver David Patten (thigh) — who all missed the Tennessee game — remain questionable. Patten practiced yesterday.

Springs (groin), left guard Derrick Dockery (hip) and linebackers Lemar Marshall (ankle) and Marcus Washington (hip) are probable. Dockery, Marshall and Washington missed practice.

New niche for Rock

Each year, Rock Cartwright finds a new role.

“Rock realizes the more he can do, the better off he’ll be,” teammate James Thrash said.

In his fourth season with the Redskins, Cartwright’s speciality has become returning kickoffs. When Clinton Portis was slowed during the preseason with a shoulder injury, Ladell Betts was removed from the kickoff team because he was expected to get more carries. That left Cartwright and Thrash. The setup has remained unchanged and Cartwright ranks fifth in the NFL with a 25.8-yard average.

Before this season, Cartwright had only 16 career returns for a 17.3-yard average. He has 24 returns through six games, including a 100-yard touchdown at Dallas in Week 2.

The Redskins have the third-best starting field position in the league (28.8 yard line), a credit to Cartwright’s consistency. Fourteen of his returns have gained at least 20 yards and he has five of 30-plus yards.

“I really didn’t know how long it would last and I didn’t look at it that way,” Cartwright said. “I just tried to make some plays in another way and try to get good field position each time.”

Said Thrash: “He’s a returner that reminds me of Brian Mitchell from the standpoint of that he just hits the hole instead of dancing around and tries to make something happen that isn’t there.”

Cartwright’s running style on offense is being fearless about taking on defenders, but also following his blockers. That has suited him on kickoffs where not being decisive usually means short returns.

“Especially as a returner, you get a lot of big hits and his running back background has made him used to that,” Thrash said. “He’s not tentative. He hits the hole at 100 miles per hour. If he gets hit, fine; if he finds the hole, he can go all the way like he did against Dallas.”

Cartwright will get a chance to pad his stats against a Colts coverage unit that is second-to-last in the league, allowing 26 yards a return.

Brunell on job status

Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell was asked if he needs a good game against Indianapolis to hold on to his starting job through the bye week.

“I need a solid performance regardless of the situations surrounding the season,” he said. “I want a solid performance so we can hopefully win a football game. We’re all in this together and each guy would tell you they want a solid performance so we can get this thing untracked.”

Long list

The Colts list 21 players as questionable for Sunday’s game. But only four players — tight end Ben Utecht (back), safety Bob Sanders (knee), receiver Brandon Stokley (knee) and defensive tackle Montae Reagor (knee) — missed practice. Stokley isn’t expected to play.

Jersey swap

Vincent is wearing No. 23 and rookie Reed Doughty switched to No. 37. Doughty said he received an “undisclosed settlement” for giving up the number.

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