Redskins likely to be without Green against Vikings nine others hurting

December 31, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins, who beat the Minnesota Vikings without cornerback Darrell Green during the regular season, apparently will try to do it again in the playoffs Saturday.

The beleaguered Redskins put their walking wounded through their first drill for the Vikings game yesterday with 10 players on the injured list, six of whom missed practice.

Green, who bruised his heel jumping for a pass three weeks ago against the Dallas Cowboys and aggravated the injury Saturday against the Los Angeles Raiders, was the only one of the 10 listed as questionable and appears to be the least likely to play.

Green declined to comment, but trainer Bubba Tyer said, "It hasn't gotten much better," although Green was no longer using crutch the way he was Monday.

Richie Petitbon, the assistant coach who runs the defense, said, "It's his decision, but all indications are very, very doubtful."

Green broke his forearm in the second game of the season against the Atlanta Falcons, came back in a part-time role Nov. 23 against the New Orleans Saints and started the last five games of the season.

Although Green never fully regained his top form, he was a valuable addition for the Redskins. He caused Michael Irvin's fumble that set in motion the sequence of plays that culminated in Troy Aikman's end-zone fumble and Danny Copeland's winning touchdown in the 20-17 victory over the Dallas %o Cowboys.

His return was timely because the other starting cornerback, Martin Mayhew, missed the last seven games with a broken forearm. The Redskins hope to activate him for the game. A. J. Johnson and Alvoid Mays are their other two cornerbacks. Johnson has a bruised heel, but was able to practice.

As the Redskins prepare for the Minnesota game, their injuries are a major concern as they attempt to duplicate their 15-13 victory of Oct. 25.

Five other players besides Green -- wide receiver Ricky Sanders, defensive lineman Charles Mann, guard Mark Schlereth, tight end Terry Orr and running back Ricky Ervins -- didn't practice, but the Redskins hope they can all play.

Mann, Orr and Schlereth, who all will need knee surgery at the end of the season, have been playing for several weeks without practicing and definitely will go.

Sanders missed last week's game with a sprained ankle and hopes to return. Ervins is a bit more iffy with a sprained ankle. His condition means that Brian Mitchell is likely to see time in the backfield.

The other four players on the injured list -- Andre Collins (ribs), Earnest Byner (back), Art Monk (back) and Johnson -- all managed to practice.

Byner's return was the most welcome news for the Redskins because he missed the second half of the Raiders game with a bruised back and finished the season with 998 yards, 2 shy of becoming the first Redskin to gain 1,000 yards three straight seasons.

Byner could barely walk after the game, but though it was still sore yesterday, he was able to practice. The Redskins will need a running threat to keep the Vikings' fierce pass rush from teeing off on quarterback Mark Rypien.

With their all injuries, the Redskins know they'll be at a disadvantage against the Vikings.

"We're wounded and they see blood and they're probably going togo after it," said Mann.

But Mann said he relishes the underdog role in contrast to last season, when the Redskins went into the playoffs with a 14-2 record and were the team to beat for the Super Bowl.

"We're not expected to win, so we can do anything we want to do. We can play any way we want to and if we end up winning, great and if we lose, hey, it's no big deal, we weren't supposed to win," Mann said.

Mann said he originally tore a piece of cartilage in his left knee (the right one has had six operations) working out in the off-season, but a magnetic resonance imaging missed it and he played well until the New Orleans game, when he aggravated it. He said his play has been "so-so" since then and he has had to have fluid drained out of it.

Mann, though, wouldn't consider coming out of the lineup.

"I come from the old school. I don't want to ever give up my spot. If you give it up, you might not get it back," he said.

Mann said that playing injured is part of the game.

"I've played injured before and I haven't made a to-do about it and don't want to make a big to-do about it now, but it is bothering me," he said.

"I go out there with the idea of playing as hard as I can and I'm going to leave it all out on the field."

NOTES: The NFL extended the deadline to 5 p.m. today for the Vikings to sell out the game so the local TV blackout can be lifted. The Vikings still have 5,000 unsold tickets. . . LB Tony Barker was signed from the practice squad to the active roster. . . Rypien is the only starting NFC quarterback in the playoffs who has won a playoff game. Randall Cunningham of Philadelphia and Bobby Hebert of New Orleans are 0-3. Sean Salisbury of Minnesota, Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers and Aikman haven't started a playoff game.

Super Bowl odds

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Odds to win 1993 Super Bowl:

Team.. .. ... .. .. .. .. .. Odds

San Francisco .. .. .. .. .. 3-2

Dallas.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..5-2

Pittsburgh .. .. .. .. .. .. 8-1

Miami .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .10-1

New Orleans .. .. .. .. .. .12-1

Buffalo .. .. .. .. .. .. ..15-1

Minnesota .. .. .. .. ... ..15-1

San Diego .. .. .. .. .. .. 20-1

Houston .. .. .. .. .. .. ..25-1

Philadelphia .. .. .. .. .. 25-1

Kansas City .. .. .. .... ..40-1

Washington .. .. .. .. .. ..40-1

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