ASHBURN, Va. - Darrell Green is not being deceptive about his status for the Washington Redskins' Monday night game against the Super Bowl-champion St. Louis Rams. Truth is, he really does not know.
The 18-year NFL veteran cornerback wants to play, but to declare he will do so would be a bit premature.
Green is still recovering from a calf injury sustained in the first quarter of the game against the Ravens on Oct. 30.
Rarely have his services been more in need than against the Rams, the league's most prolific passing team. Though he was replaced as a starter by Deion Sanders, Green has played well as the nickel back, recording two interceptions and a team-leading seven passes defensed.
"I thought this thing would be a week, two weeks," Green said of the injury. "It turned out to be three weeks, four weeks. This is a very serious injury. So I'm just going to continue to work."
If Green is unable to play, Tyronne Drakeford will fill his role for the fourth straight game. Chances are Drakeford will be needed regardless of Green's status because of the Rams' frequent four-receiver sets.
"Darrell ran [yesterday]," Redskins coach Norv Turner said. "He ran pretty good. He still didn't practice, but took place in all the walk-through stuff.
"This group [the Rams] throws a lot of three and four wide receivers on first down. I expect them to do that against us. Darrell would be a big plus."
St. Louis will have backup quarterback Trent Green throwing to the top two receivers in the league in terms of yardage (Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt) and a host of other playmakers.
Bruce and Holt already have more than 2,000 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns this season. Third receiver Az Hakim has 630 yards on 42 receptions. Ricky Proehl had six catches for 53 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 38-24 win over the New York Giants.
Marshall Faulk is one of the NFL's best pass-catching running backs, but he will miss his third straight game Monday because of a knee injury.
The offensive production has not declined, even though Trent Green, who played with the Redskins for four seasons, has replaced last year's league MVP, Kurt Warner (broken finger), for the past two games.
Washington will also have to go with its backup quarterback, Jeff George. Brad Johnson's knee has not healed sufficiently; the Redskins are targeting his return for the following week against the Philadelphia Eagles.
While George struggled at times in his debut for the Redskins against the Arizona Cardinals, Trent Green is averaging 348 yards and three touchdowns a game since replacing Warner.
He will have his biggest test this week against a Redskins secondary ranked No. 1 in the league against the pass. The Redskins have not allowed a 300-yard passing game this season, the first under new defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes.
Credit a Pro Bowl year by Champ Bailey, a good year by Sanders and solid seasons from Green, strong safety Sam Shade and free safety Mark Carrier. But outside of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the unit has faced mostly run-oriented teams. The secondary has 11 interceptions this season."[The Rams] present a lot of challenges," Bailey said. `They do a lot of motion. They've got a lot of speed, a good quarterback, all the things for a high-powered offense.
"It's hard to find corners to match up with their receivers."
Which reinforces the need for Darrell Green. The Redskins will make a tentative decision on Green's status tomorrow, with a final decision coming later in the week or at game time.
"We ain't telling nothing until we have to," Redskins trainer Bubba Tyer said with a smile.
NOTES: The Redskins have the league's No. 2-ranked defense, behind the league-leading Ravens. ... Linebacker Shawn Barber, who has missed the last two games with a knee injury, said he expects to play against the Rams. ... The Redskins waived former Maryland defensive tackle Del Cowsette from the practice squad and re-signed guard Derrick Fletcher. Cowsette was the team's seventh-round pick this year. Fletcher was cut last week to make room for kicker Scott Bentley. Turner did not rule out bringing Cowsette back. "He's a guy that's got a chance," Turner said. "We'd like to get him back. But from a numbers standpoint in what we're trying to get done on special teams and in practice, he's the guy we had to let go."