- The Washington Times - Friday, September 19, 2008

The Washington Redskins‘ injury situation at receiver improved markedly Thursday when James Thrash and Malcolm Kelly did limited practice work.

Both players sustained ankle sprains in last week’s win over New Orleans and did not practice Wednesday. Thrash’s high ankle sprain was considered mild, and he was out of a walking boot and on the practice field.

If both players are available Sunday against Arizona, the Redskins will have five healthy receivers and won’t have to use tight end Chris Cooley in the slot receiver position.

The only player absent was middle linebacker London Fletcher for what coach Jim Zorn called a “serious family problem he has to deal with.”

Fletcher, who did not practice Wednesday because of a rib injury, is expected to return to the team Saturday. Linebacker H.B. Blades and cornerback Fred Smoot returned to practice in a limited manner. Linebacker Marcus Washington (hamstring) went through the full workout.

Thrash missed four games last year because of an ankle sprain but said his current injury isn’t nearly as severe.

“It’s promising,” Zorn said. “He tried to go a little bit, and hopefully [Friday] he’ll go further down the road.”

Kelly thought he would limit his work to one-on-one drills, but he also participated in the team portion. He said he will be available for Sunday.

“He’s trying hard, but that’s going to be a questionable situation for us,” Zorn said. “We’ll try and have him push through it. He wants to go in a bad way.”

If Thrash and Kelly can’t play or are limited, Devin Thomas is expected to assume the No. 3 role. He played 19 snaps against New Orleans.

“The more reps he gets out here, the better he’s looking,” Zorn said. “The hardest part for him is doing it alone on the field with no coaches out there. In practice, we can help him - ‘Hey, wrong split. Move out. Move in.’ Guys are barking at him. We’re helping him a little bit. Hopefully he’s on a fast track of getting himself up to speed.”

Mixing it up

Something as simple as mixing up the snap count allowed the Redskins to get an advantage last week according to Zorn and quarterback Jason Campbell.

“You try to get any advantage you can because the defense is always trying to do the same thing,” Campbell said. “We have to keep them honest. You don’t want to give them any indication that the snap is coming at the same count every single time.”

Despite mixing up the count, the Redskins had no false start penalties.

“I try to do that all week in practice so we’re not the ones jumping,” Campbell said. “It’s something we have to focus on because we don’t want to get into first-and-15 situations.”

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