Last week's events still fuzzy, Lefotu returns to practice

Two days in hospital `scary' for lineman

Redskins notebook

August 16, 2006|By DON MARKUS | DON MARKUS,SUN REPORTER

ASHBURN, Va. -- He went largely unnoticed in the late-afternoon sun, which is something of a feat when you're 6 feet 5 and 315 pounds. As Kili Lefotu walked off the practice field at Redskins Park, nobody asked him how he felt or wished him well.

That was fine with Lefotu, since he'd rather forget what happened to him last week, when he lost consciousness and spent two days in a local hospital while taking a battery of tests.

"Up to this point, it's the scariest thing that ever happened to me in my whole life," Lefotu said.

Yesterday marked the first time since the incident took place that Lefotu took part in many of the offensive line drills. The nearly two-hour workout took away whatever trepidation was left.

"I was more anxious and excited to go out and play football," he said.

The events of last week are still fuzzy. He remembers going to take a nap in the nearby dormitory room where the players are being housed during training camp. He had a bad headache. It was Wednesday afternoon, about 2 p.m., and he wanted to be ready for practice that night.

"The next thing I knew I woke up in the hospital, and my fiancee was by my bed," said Lefotu, a seventh-round draft pick out of Arizona who hopes to make the team as a backup offensive lineman. "I figured something bad happened, and before I could even speak, the doctors and her were explaining what happened."

What happened has still not been determined, but Letofu has been told that he might have sleep apnea, a condition in which the airways get clogged and there is a lack of oxygen being absorbed into the bloodstream. It can lead to heart attacks and strokes if not treated.

"I was told I snore a lot, but I was never told I had sleep apnea," Lefotu said.

After barely getting out of bed for a couple of days, Lefotu said he finally started feeling a little better Sunday night, when he was able to watch his team's 19-3 preseason loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Not being able to practice was of little concern.

"Honestly, football was the last thing on my mind," Lefotu said. "I was concerned about my health more than anything. The first thing is my health. If I don't have my health, I have no football."

Lefotu's fiancee, Annie Jaramillo, remained for a few days before returning to Tucson, Ariz., where she is a senior airman stationed at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and is awaiting deployment to Kuwait or Iraq.

She and Lefotu were to be married in November, but plans have been put on hold.

"It's been very hectic the last few months," he said.

Lefotu heard from everyone in his family, which is also something of a feat considering that he has 28 aunts and uncles, more cousins than he can count, as well as three brothers.

"I've got calls from California, Arizona, North Carolina, Hawaii and Alaska," Lefotu said. "My family's everywhere. They all keep an eye on me."

When he came out for practice yesterday, so did someone else.

"It was good to see him back out there," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said. ". ... He bounced around, he was volunteering to do stuff. We're going to watch him, but he took quite a bit of work. I was really pleased."

Springs has surgery

Injuries continue to hamper the Redskins.

One day after it was announced that starting tailback Clinton Portis would miss the rest of the preseason - if not more - because of a partially dislocated left shoulder, starting cornerback Shawn Springs joined the list of Redskins who will be out for a considerable amount of time.

Springs underwent surgery yesterday in Durham, N.C., to repair a minor tear in his abdominal muscle. The injury, which could be the culmination of the groin problems Springs endured last season, will keep him out between three and six weeks.

His spot in the lineup will be taken by Kenny Wright or newly acquired Mike Rumpf, who came in a trade from the San Francisco 49ers for wide receiver Taylor Jacobs.

"He's got long arms and he can run," cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray said of Rumpf, a former first-round draft pick out of Miami. "We got to get him back comfortable with his playing cover-2 [defense]. Not always a man-to-man guy. Sometimes you get down on guys when you try to make him something that he's not. My job is to find out what he's good at."

Revolving roster

The Redskins waived three players who were hurt in Sunday's loss at Cincinnati - tailback Kerry Carter, linebacker Chris Clemons and safety Ben Emanuel. In their place, the team signed two veterans, linebacker Jeff Posey and former Ravens offensive lineman Spencer Folau, and tailback A.J. Harris, a rookie from Northern Illinois.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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