HERNDON, Va. -- The Washington Redskins, "in as much trouble as we've ever been in," are hoping Mark Rypien is ready to play quarterback again this week. They are hoping desperately.
"We may have to win with just our defense for a while," coach Joe Gibbs said after checking the multiple damages suffered in Monday night's debacle at Philadelphia.
"Or with just our special teams," Gibbs added. "We've got serious problems, major problems."
Quarterback Stan Humphries, kick returner Walter Stanley and running back Gerald Riggs all came out of the 28-14 defeat with "four-week injuries," Gibbs said.
Four weeks is the minimum term players must spend on injured reserve. Stanley and Riggs went on that list today.
Add to that the badly sprained right thumb of quarterback Jeff Rutledge and it's obvious why Rypien, who had serious knee surgery seven weeks ago, may be starting against New Orleans in RFK Stadium Sunday.
"He wants to take a shot," said Gibbs. "He told me last week he's ready to go. If not we'll go with Hogeboom."
Gary Hogeboom, former Cowboy, Colt and Cardinal, was signed in the emergency of Rypien's injury but hasn't played.
For a running back to replace Riggs, Gibbs said, as he always says, that he would prefer "somebody who's been in our system."
Whereupon general manager Charley Casserly produced Reggie Dupard, the journeyman who was cut by the Redskins in August.
Dupard was in seven games for Washington in the latter half of last season, mostly on special teams. He carried the ball 12 times for 48 yards.
Added to his part-time work with New England for four years, Dupard has carried 198 times in the NFL for a 3.1-yard average.
Rookie Brian Mitchell, who finished the game at quarterback Monday night, will "get his chance" at running back, Gibbs said.
In Stanley's place Stephen Hobbs could be activated, Gibbs said, but added the decision would be made later in the week. Hobbs has been Redskins property for two years but has never played in an NFL game.
Earlier yesterday some of the injured players were putting up an optimistic front. Humphries was on crutches -- more precisely with crutches, carrying them in his hand much of the time, walking with a limp, "hoping" his sprained knee would heal in two weeks. He might need a cast or a mobile splint for 10 days or two weeks, trainer Bubba Tyer said.
Stanley's limp was much more pronounced, and so was his resentment. "Maybe for Dallas" (Thanksgiving Day) was his self-prognosis for recovery. He and Humphries both suffered sprains of the medial collateral ligament of their right knees, but Stanley was taking much shorter steps yesterday.
"I wasn't hurt when I went down," Stanley said. "Then I felt somebody jerk my leg, twisted it. They're that kind of team." The tackle, by Roger Vick after Stanley had returned a punt 15 yards in the first quarter, was clean, Stanley said.
"Somebody got me on the ground," Stanley said. "I don't know his number." The films were inconclusive, special teams coach Wayne Sevier said.
Linebacker Greg Manusky, carried off with a knee injury, was walking unaided yesterday. "Just strained the hell out of it," he said. His afternoon appearances had been canceled on advice of Tyer, but Manusky un-canceled them.
Ralf Mojsiejenko, who sprained his right ankle on "the third, I think" (it was the fourth) of his seven left-footed punts, thought he'd be all right. "I sprained one on Wednesday last year and punted on Sunday," he said.
Riggs sprained the arch of his foot, the injury that kept him out of four games last year. He didn't want to talk about it.
Joe Howard, knocked out as he cartwheeled from a tackle on a kick return, was released from a Philadelphia hospital yesterday morning with no evident concussion damage.
Rutledge's thumb, sprained but not broken, was heavily bandaged. The damage to his psyche from his dismal failure was not measurable.
"Anybody would have had a tough time with that [the Eagles'] pass rush," Gibbs said. "We'll have to see how Jeff comes along."
Despite the bandage, Rutledge today was listed as "probable" on the injury list. Humphries and Howard were listed as "out."
"Jeff's hand is black and blue," trainer Tyer said, "but the swelling is down. He might be able to play some on Sunday."
Rutledge has "a beat-up old thumb" with a pin inserted from an injury when he was with the Rams in 1981, Tyer said.
There are no longer medical reasons why Rypien should not play, Tyer said. "For two weeks now he's been bugging me to tell Joe [Gibbs] he's OK," Tyer said.
Rypien said he was undaunted by the prospect of rejoining the team in its most desperate hours. He will be uncautious in his approach, "ready to let it all hang out," he said.
* Tight end Ron Middleton was not impersonating Terry Orr Monday night. He was wearing No. 87 because it has been his number since Escambia High School in Alabama.
As a matter of courtesy, Middleton didn't ask for the number until veteran Orr, twice cut by Washington this year, was signed by San Diego. While waiting, Middleton wore 48, 96, 38 and 86.
* Among the unpleasantries exchanged in Philadelphia was defensive tackle Jumpy Geathers' paying his respects to Eagles guard Mike Schad. It was Schad, with what Jumpy considered a cheap shot at his knee, who sent Geathers off to surgery in the Saints' penultimate game last season.
"Naw, I didn't get in a shot," Geathers said. "He's a dirty player and I wanted to, but we didn't need no penalties."
Geathers got his second sack in his second fraction of a game. Wilber Marshall, the team leader, has four. Charles Mann, expected to be the leader, has three.