- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 13, 2008

Marcus Washington started his first 48 games after signing with the Washington Redskins in 2004. But there’s a decent chance that the strongside linebacker will miss Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

Washington did limited work in Friday’s practice because of a hamstring injury he suffered against the Giants, and he’s listed as questionable.

“I’m trying to see what I got,” Washington said. “It felt OK. I don’t want to do anything crazy and set it back. It’s still going to be a game-time decision.”

Complicating the situation is the likely absence of veteran backup linebacker Khary Campbell for the second straight game with a badly inflamed thigh. He was downgraded to doubtful after being unable to practice again.

“We got the original bruise and swelling down and I came back and started practicing [last week] and I was feeling all right, but the muscle started to re-bleed, so we had to let it calm down,” said Campbell, who was a last-minute scratch against the Giants. “I rushed to get back last time, which wasn’t smart. I’ve got to be smart about it now.”

The Redskins only have four healthy linebackers: starters London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh and backups H.B. Blades and Alfred Fincher. Curtis Gatewood could be promoted from the practice squad if it seems like Washington won’t be able to go, or coordinator Greg Blache could play more nickel and dime defenses against the pass-happy Saints. Rookie safety Kareem Moore is doubtful after his hamstring limited him again in Friday’s practice.

Rookie receivers not rolling

Although Malcolm Kelly is finally healthy after missing the preseason opener with a hamstring injury and the past five games after having his left knee scoped, it appears that the rookie receiver’s NFL debut might be delayed again.

“He did a lot [this week], but in my mind, he’s still questionable, just working his way back,” coach Jim Zorn said. “But I like what I see. I like his improvement.”

Kelly, who said it seems like “years” since his last game, Oklahoma’s Fiesta Bowl loss to West Virginia more than eight months ago, will understand if he’s not activated.

“I went through the whole week with no pain,” said Kelly, whose left knee was scoped on Aug. 4. “Being able to make an inside cut with the knee let me know that I was good. I want to play, but I’m just glad to finally be back.”

While 51st overall pick Kelly hasn’t played and 34th choice Devin Thomas had just one catch for 5 yards in his Redskins debut, No. 42 pick Eddie Royal had nine catches for a league-high 146 yards for Denver and No. 49 pick DeSean Jackson had six for 106 for Philadelphia.

“I got to see how real game speed is and I got my first little catch, too, so I got that out of the way,” Thomas said. “A lot of critics say that receivers can’t come in and make an impact, but you saw what [Royal and Jackson] did. Now it’s time for me to Malcolm to start making plays ourselves.”

Patten’s place

One of just free agent signees by the Redskins in 2005, receiver David Patten caught 22 passes for just 217 yards and no touchdowns in nine games before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Patten missed much of the 2006 training camp with a virus and was forgotten in the wake of the high-profile additions of Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd. Patten caught just one pass in five games and was cut the following winter.

But Patten, now 34, has been rejuvenated in New Orleans. He had 54 catches and 792 yards in 2007, and he opened 2008 with a 39-yard scoring grab last week. On Sunday, Patten will return to Washington as a starter, replacing the injured Marques Colston.

“It will be a lot of fun,” Patten said. “Any time you play at a particular place, whether it’s good or bad, when you go back you want to have a good showing. You want to let them know, ‘Hey this is what you had.’”

Kendall fined $5,000

Redskins left guard Pete Kendall was fined $5,000 on Friday for pulling off New York Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce’s helmet last week in a post-play altercation. Pierce was also fined $5,000.

Left tackle Chris Samuels was not fined for his block that injured Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka’s ankle. Kiwanuka is expected to play Sunday at St. Louis.

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