ASHBURN, Va. - Washington Redskins quarterback Brad Johnson suffered a Grade 2 sprain to the medial collateral ligament of his left knee during the fourth quarter of Monday night's 27-21 loss to Tennessee at FedEx Field.
Johnson will miss practice today and is unofficially listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Arizona. He suffered the injury on the third-to-last play of the Redskins' final touchdown drive on a pass attempt to tight end Stephen Alexander.
If Johnson is unable to play, high-priced backup Jeff George will get his first action of the season.
"We're concerned to a certain degree," Redskins trainer Bubba Tyer said of Johnson's injury.
Johnson was able to continue against the Titans. He had one more chance to give the Redskins the lead with just over two minutes remaining in the game and his team down by six.
But by that time, Johnson was not the only one hurting. Receiver Irving Fryar was out of the game because of a rib injury that left Johnson throwing passes to cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Deion Sanders out of a four-wide receiver set.
The drive ended with an interception after an intentional grounding call and an incompletion.
"It was different," Redskins coach Norv Turner said of having Sanders and Bailey running routes in such a crucial situation.
"Our receivers are banged up. We got to take a hard look at that. We got a short week and a big football game against Arizona from a division standpoint."
In assessing what went wrong for the Redskins on Monday, Turner's best explanation was that everything finally caught up with his team.
The penalties. The injuries. Adversity the Redskins fought through during their five-game winning streak, they could not beat against perhaps the best team in the AFC.
Especially when the Titans get touchdowns off a 69-yard Derrick Mason punt return and an 81-yard Samari Rolle interception return.
"You beat Tampa, you beat Jacksonville, you beat some of the teams we've beaten, we've had the same problems," Turner said. "We've had problems in terms of pressure, problems in terms of the running game. ... In the last game against Jacksonville, we overcame three penalties to go down and drive for a touchdown. I don't know against Tennessee if you're going to overcome that."
Guard Keith Sims continued to play with a hurting Achilles' tendon and was part of an offensive line that allowed three sacks of Johnson.
The Redskins did have marginal success running the ball with Stephen Davis (21 attempts, 62 yards and a touchdown), but were forced to throw nearly every down after trailing by 13 twice in the second half.
It was the first time this season the Redskins were forced to abandon the run that early in a game because of the score.
"When you get the game into a one-dimensional game, that is what all defensive coaches talk about," Turner said. "[To get an opponent] to where they can only run or they can only pass, you're in pretty good shape. That is one of the reasons we do what we do and work so hard to get balance.
"We were in this situation three or four times a year ago where we were able to come back from being behind, driving the football almost exclusively with the pass."
And they did Monday night. The Redskins scored touchdowns twice in the second half to stay in the game on Davis' 1-yard run and Johnson's 3-yard pass to Larry Centers, something Turner pointed to as a positive from the game. But they couldn't do it against a solid Titans defense in the final two minutes.
"They're an outstanding football team," Turner said. "We knew going in that's the type of team they were. They were a play away from having a chance to win the Super Bowl. We knew we would need our best performances. We've come up with some big performances over the last month to win games over some good football teams. We didn't quite get it done this week."
NOTES: Turner said he's concerned about James Thrash's workload. Thrash returns punts and kickoffs and plays the bulk of the offensive snaps. Turner said he plans to let Sanders work on returning punts again once cornerback Darrell Green (calf) returns. ... Tyer said Green is day-to-day. LaVar Arrington (pinched nerve), Bailey (sprained thumb), Mark Carrier (shoulder), Albert Connell (shoulder and knee), Marco Coleman (shoulder) and Thrash (thigh) all sustained minor injuries Monday, but should be ready to practice this week. ... Turner said Fryar is questionable for the Arizona game.