Brunell may play against Eagles

Sprained right knee not considered serious

Redskins QB says he's `day-to-day'

Pro Football

December 27, 2005|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,SUN REPORTER

Mark Brunell's sprained right knee is not as serious as initially feared, and the quarterback might be healthy enough to play in the Washington Redskins' regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Coach Joe Gibbs said a magnetic resonance imaging exam yesterday morning revealed no severe damage to the sprained medial collateral ligament in Brunell's right knee, which was injured during the third quarter of Washington's 35-20 victory over the NFC East-leading New York Giants on Saturday.

"He had very little swelling in it [over the weekend], and not much today," Gibbs said during his weekly news conference at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va. "Our guys feel encouraged by it. I'm sure there will be some time that we rest him some this week, but we'll just see how it progresses toward the end of the week."

Brunell also sounded optimistic that he would be under center when the Redskins (9-6) travel to Philadelphia (6-9) for the 4:15 p.m. game.

"It's a day-to-day thing," Brunell told the Associated Press. "I had an MRI today. It feels better than it did on Saturday, and I think each day, I'll improve a little bit more."

Brunell injured his knee on the third play of the second half when he was sacked by New York linebacker Nick Greisen below the knee. Brunell, who had completed seven of 11 passes for 112 yards and connected on two touchdown passes to wide receiver Santana Moss before the injury, was replaced by backup Patrick Ramsey for the rest of the game.

Ramsey, who began the season as the starter but was pulled after the opener against the Chicago Bears, finished the game 5-for-7 passing for 104 yards and a 72-yard touchdown pass to Moss.

Gibbs praised Ramsey, saying: "You've got to have guys that can make plays for you, and it comes up sometimes at the most crucial times of the year, and it did in this case. Patrick went in and did a heck of a job and hit that big one to Santana. He played well, and I thought he looked very good. He was poised, and we really appreciated his effort there and the way he played."

Still, Brunell is eager to play Sunday when a win against the Eagles would give Washington its first postseason berth in six years. A victory coupled with a New York Giants loss to the Oakland Raiders on Saturday night would also clinch the club's first NFC East crown since the 1999 season.

The Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons -two of the three teams that entered last weekend vying with the Redskins for the sixth and final NFC playoff spot - were eliminated with losses to the Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, respectively.

Even if Washington lost to Philadelphia, a Dallas Cowboys loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday night would send the Redskins on to the postseason.

But Gibbs said no one is hoping to rely on another team to grant Washington a playoff bid.

"We don't think we're going to be in playoffs if we don't win this game. I think that's the way we have to look at it," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen as far as the division goes, but for us to have a chance to be in the playoffs, we have to win this game. All of our focus goes into this game. I don't think there will be any distractions."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

Redskins@Eagles Sunday, 4:15 p.m., chs. 45, 5, 1430 AM, 106.7 FM Line: Off the board

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