- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Washington Redskins head into their showdown with the New York Giants facing the prospect of being without several playmakers on defense.

Middle linebacker London Fletcher, the team’s leading tackler, sprained his left foot in a victory over the Seattle Seahawks last week and said his status won’t be decided until shortly before the game Sunday at FedEx Field.

“I’m feeling better, but I’m not 100 percent,” said Fletcher, who on Friday sat out a third straight practice. “I’m hopeful, but it’s a game-time decision. It’s very frustrating because you want to play, but you also have to be smart about it.”

Fletcher, who made a Redskins season-high 17 tackles in a Week 1 loss to the Giants, has started 130 consecutive regular-season games, the sixth-longest streak in the league.

Fletcher isn’t the only member of the Redskins’ defense with a streak in jeopardy. Right end Andre Carter is suffering from a partially torn plantar fascia in his right foot, an injury that kept him from practicing all week.

Carter has started all 44 games since he joined the Redskins in 2006, the longest streak on the defense. Dating back to his final season with the San Francisco 49ers, Carter has played in 60 straight games, the last 58 as a starter.

Demetric Evans would start for the sixth time this year if Carter can’t play.

“It’s like pieces of glass going up and down your heel,” said Carter, who took himself out of Friday’s calisthenics when the arch tightened. “It felt better after I got a shot in it last Sunday, so I’m going to do it again on Sunday, tape it up, run around and see how it feels. … You don’t want to miss a game this big.”

Right tackle Kedric Golston didn’t practice Friday because of painful bone spurs in both ankles and is considered questionable for Sunday’s game. His loss was eased by the presence of injured left tackle Cornelius Griffin at practice. Griffin will start next to Anthony Montgomery, just back from a two-game absence because of a strained Achilles tendon.

Strongside linebacker Marcus Washington (ankle) also will not play for a second straight week.

On offense, running back Clinton Portis (knee, ribs) and left tackle Chris Samuels (knee) were limited in practice on Friday. Coach Jim Zorn said a decision on their status will be made at game time.

Portis, the leading rusher in the NFL, said he’ll play. Ladell Betts and Stephon Heyer would start if Portis and Samuels can’t play.

Fincher’s first start?

Four seasons into his NFL career, Alfred Fincher is on the verge of realizing a goal — starting an NFL game.

Injuries in the linebacker corps might prompt the team to shift H.B. Blades, who started last week on the strong side in place of Washington, to the middle.

That would open a spot for Fincher, who played in 24 games with the New Orleans Saints before signing a one-year contract with the Detroit Lions in March. The Lions later cut him, and the Redskins signed him July 31.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Fincher said. “What I’ve learned is, be prepared because anything’s possible.”

Fincher won one of the Redskins’ final roster spots this summer in part because of the ailing back of holdover Matt Sinclair and also because of his strong preseason performance.

“He played his way onto this team,” linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti said.

Said Fincher: “My first goal was to make the team. My second goal was to see what my role was. It’s been on special teams. This would be another step. The coaches knew what I was capable of doing at linebacker coming into the season. I think they have some confidence in me. Now I just have to go in there and prove it.”

Extra point

Receiver Santana Moss was fined $5,000 by the NFL for throwing a punch at Seahawks cornerback Josh Wilson during Sunday’s game.

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