Redskins' injury line gets even longer with Schlereth hurting Offensive line in tatters for Eagles

September 16, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- As offensive tackle Joe Jacoby strolled on to the Washington Redskins practice field yesterday, he said, "I'm going to see if I can get through practice."

L That's what it has come to for the Redskins' offensive line.

Forget about the game Sunday in Philadelphia. Right now, they're just trying to find enough guys to practice.

As expected, Moe Elewonibi -- who is filling in at right tackle for Jim Lachey, who is out for the season after undergoing knee surgery -- wasn't able to practice yesterday. He is questionable for the Eagles game because of a pulled hamstring suffered in Sunday's loss to the Phoenix Cardinals.

But things took an unexpected turn for the worse when right guard Mark Schlereth wasn't able to practice because of a sore knee.

"They don't know what's wrong with it. I can walk around fine, but I can't straighten it," Schlereth said of the left knee that bothered him all last season. He hyper-extended it in the opener against the Dallas Cowboys, but played last week.

The Redskins, who announced Schlereth has a bruised cartilage, still figure he will play because his tolerance for pain is legendary at Redskin Park. "He's one tough son of a gun," said offensive line coach Jim Hanifan.

Last year, Schlereth waited until the end of the year to have surgery, even though the knee would lock on him at night and he would sometimes wake up screaming.

Schlereth's inability to practice meant that center Raleigh McKenzie, who is supposed to back up Jacoby at left tackle, couldn't take snaps at that position because he had to fill in at guard for Schlereth. Veteran Jeff Bostic then went in at center.

McKenzie was at left tackle for a couple of snaps, but most of the time second-year player Darryl Moore, who was on the physically unable to perform list last year, alternated with Jacoby at left tackle.

If Elewonibi can't go, the Redskins have no idea how long Jacoby can last at left tackle.

In his 13th season, Jacoby, 34, would seem more at home in Jurassic Park than Redskin Park.

"We won't know until we try," Jacoby said when asked if he could last a whole game.

Jacoby isn't hurting enough to make the injury report, but the wear and tear of playing so many years in the line has taken its toll.

"I'm probably like everybody else, a little beat up, a little sore," he said. "That's just part of the game, part of being down in the trenches."

The last time Jacoby started was at Kansas City in the 10th

game last year. He didn't survive the first quarter, leaving with a sprained back.

Last week, he went in for Elewonibi in the third quarter, but had to come out after taking 21 snaps because his knee locked up on him.

Meanwhile, Elewonibi won't know until the end of the week if he can play.

Last week, he didn't practice because he was hospitalized for three days with a staph infection. The lack of practice time affected his play: Ken Harvey collected three sacks.

"It didn't work so well the last time we tried it," Elewonibi said of playing without practicing.

Harvey not only beat Elewonibi, but he said the Redskins lineman did some trash talking, saying among other things, "I've got you, punk."

Elewonibi said: "Why should I call him a punk? He beat me. He was kicking my butt. Maybe I did say it in a staph infection daze."

Harvey's last sack, which foiled the Redskins' final drive, came when Elewonibi had a sore hamstring, but Elewonibi took the blame.

"There was no excuse for that," Elewonibi said. "He set up me nicely with an outside set and then clubbed me inside. I knew it was over."

Last year, Elewonibi made the first start of his career against Clyde Simmons of the Eagles and held him without a sack.

"I think he's going to come out with the idea he's got to play a lot better," Elewonibi said. "He's got to make things happen after the last game, the way you guys [reporters] hyped it up that I did well. Maybe it's going to give him a little more incentive to come after me."

Elewonibi said the hamstring was feeling better yesterday, and the Redskins hope he can play Sunday.

Coach Richie Petitbon said on Monday that players need to practice to play, but he amended that rule yesterday in regard to Elewonibi. "That only applies if you've got somebody behind him," Petitbon said.

NOTE: TE Terry Orr (back) and DL Sterling Palmer (knee) won't play Sunday and it's unlikely that LB Andre Collins (knee) will see action. All three missed practice yesterday, along with Schlereth and Elewonibi.

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