- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Washington Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels will be sidelined up to four weeks after spraining the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during yesterday’s practice.

An MRI late last night confirmed the initial diagnosis. Samuels tore the MCL in the same knee in 2003, causing him to miss three games.

If Samuels misses four weeks, he still would be available for the Redskins’ season opener Sept. 9 against Miami.

On a passing play to the right side, Samuels was blocking defensive end Demetric Evans. Defensive tackle Joe Salave’a said he fell into Samuels’ knee from behind as Samuels was going to the ground.

“I thought it was over for the season [when it happened],” Samuels said before heading to the MRI exam. “But the Good Lord blessed me. I know that I’m fine. … I think I’m OK. I didn’t feel anything pop. We’ll see how long it takes to get back on the field.”

Samuels was helped off the field and carted to the training room, where he was examined by the training staff.

“He was going down to the ground and had his knee bent,” director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said. “He said it could have been worse if his knee was straight.”

With Samuels on the sideline, Jason Fabini (114 career starts) likely would move into the position. Coach Joe Gibbs ruled out left guard Todd Wade moving back to his natural tackle position.

The Redskins’ offensive line missed only one “man game” to injury last year but now is without two starters. Right guard Randy Thomas has not practiced this training camp because of right knee soreness. But he did some running drills yesterday and will do individual drills today.

Redskins remember Walsh

Several Redskins had ties to Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh, who died of leukemia yesterday at age 75.

“He was one of those unusual people that could actually say, ‘Here’s a play. It’s going to work and here’s what’s going to happen,’ ” said coach Joe Gibbs, who was 2-3 against Walsh. “That’s one of the hardest things in football.”

Gibbs’ son Coy played at Stanford in the 1990s during Walsh’s second tenure as the school’s coach. Redskins executive Vinny Cerrato worked with Walsh when both were in the San Francisco front office in the mid 1990s. Associate head coach Al Saunders knew Walsh for years because of their ties to San Jose State, and defensive end Andre Carter was the 49ers’ first-round pick in 2001, Walsh’s last season in the NFL.

“He was such an amazing person,” Carter said. “When we first met, he told me, ‘We brought you in because we believe in your speed, your work ethic and confidence.’ ”

Injuries mount

In addition to Samuels, receiver Mike Espy (bruised right knee cap) and fullback Pete Schmitt (left rotator cuff) were added to the injury report yesterday.

Missing both practices were tight end Tyler Ecker (groin) and linebacker Dallas Sartz (hamstring). Linebacker H.B. Blades (cramps) sat out the morning and linebacker Marcus Washington rested during the second practice.

Sartz and Blades both are competing for spots in a competitive linebacker group and can’t afford to miss practice time.

Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams acknowledged disappointment with the linebackers’ absence.

“That’s part of their acclimation,” he said. “They have to learn how to practice. … Part of being a pro is taking care of your body and replenishing what you lose during practice.”

Tight end added

With Ecker on the shelf, the Redskins signed tight end Jake Nordin and released kicker Tyler Fredrickson. Nordin was signed in May by New England and released July 19.

Staff writer David Elfin contributed to this article.

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