Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Washington Redskins will be without right guard Randy Thomas for at least six weeks and possibly for the rest of the season.

Thomas, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, will have surgery today to repair a tear in his left triceps. The injury happened while Thomas was blocking Philadelphia‘s Darren Howard on the penultimate play of the first quarter of Monday night’s 20-12 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said Thomas will be in a cast or splint for six weeks after surgery.

If the tear is bad enough, Thomas will be out for the season like right tackle Jon Jansen, who fractured his right fibula and dislocated his right ankle in the season opener against Miami.

Jason Fabini, who has never started at guard during his 10 NFL seasons, will replace Thomas for the duration. Mike Pucillo is the only backup interior lineman on the roster. Guard Kili Lefotu is on the practice squad. Washington already was short a lineman after replacing Jansen last week with safety Omar Stoutmire, so the personnel department likely will bring in tryout candidates to work out today.

“As a backup, you never know when you’re going to get in there,” said the 33-year-old Fabini, who started at tackle for the New York Jets during his first eight seasons. “I’ve been practicing there, bouncing around between guard and tackle the last six weeks, mostly on the left, but the last couple of weeks, I’ve been playing right guard and some right tackle. The more you can do, the more valuable you are. If I am the starter, I expect to do well.”

Coach Joe Gibbs is confident Fabini can be as effective as new right tackle Todd Wade, a six-year starter at that spot for Miami and Houston who played well when Jansen missed the New Orleans game last season and won Monday’s battle with Philadelphia’s Jevon Kearse.

“It’s really tough to [lose Thomas and Jansen],” Gibbs said. “It’s almost like I couldn’t believe it two weeks a row. Both of those guys are dynamic leaders. It does give you a confidence of knowing [Fabini and Wade] have started in the league. It showed that he’s been around, played a bunch. He stepped in, [didn’t] panic and did a real good job for us.”

Fabini wound up doing OK against the Eagles, but his consecutive false starts inside the Philadelphia 15 in the final minute of the first half were embarrassing at least until tight end Chris Cooley’s 16-yard touchdown catch on the next play.

“I don’t know if anybody has ever had that happen before,” Fabini said. “Thank God Chris made a great play and bailed me out.”

Smoot, Daniels optimistic

Cornerback Fred Smoot, who pulled a hamstring in practice Friday, ran in pregame warmups but was deactivated against his will for Monday’s game.

“He was desperate and begging,” assistant head coach/defense Gregg Williams said. “Sometimes I have to be smart when he’s not going to be smart. I’m glad we didn’t play him because we have a division opponent coming up.”

Smoot said he was feeling better yesterday and planned to practice today. So does defensive end Phillip Daniels, who was sidelined against the Eagles with the right foot he sprained against the Dolphins.

“We’ll work me in slow and see how it goes until game time,” Daniels said. “I feel good. I can push off now. That’s good.”

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