Behind Enemy Lines: Hurting on special teams

The injuries that have hampered Washington's secondary and defensive tackles all year have now hit its special teams hard. The league-leading kick coverage units won't have two of their top performers for this week's game against San Diego.

Special teams captain Mike Sellers was released from Washington Hospital Center on Monday with a hairline fracture of a rib suffered in Sunday's 16-13 loss to Oakland, while James Thrash is also out after pulling his right hamstring against the Raiders.

Although he's only the backup H-back, Sellers is also the Redskins' leading scorer with six touchdowns on just 11 touches on offense. Brian Kozlowski figures to take many of his snaps there.

Sellers is lucky that he wasn't more seriously hurt from the helmet to the back by Oakland's Isaiah Ekejiuba.

"They were concerned because Mike had a tough time breathing right after the game," coach Joe Gibbs said. "He's extremely sore. We feel very fortunate that we didn't get something like he broke a bunch of ribs."

It was a rough day for Sellers, who was set to have a police escort to the airport in the wake of a death in his family. His travel plans were interrupted by his hospitalization. And he made Gibbs wince by sneaking onto the field to go after Ekejiuba, drawing a 10-yard penalty.

"We told Mike he was out (for the rest of the game), and the next thing we know, we look up and he's back in there," Gibbs said. "Mike's a real competitor. It was his spot, and he felt like he could go. But you've got to control yourself. You can't put yourself before the team. He was so geared up, and it cost us."

Thrash will be replaced as the third wideout by Jimmy Farris, who re-signed Monday. Fellow receiver Rich Parson went back to the practice squad after making his NFL debut against the Raiders.

Thrash hasn't missed a game since 1998. Farris, who played mostly on special teams for Atlanta in 2003 and 2004, had two touchdowns among his six catches this preseason for Washington.

Farris, who worked out for the Chargers and Falcons since being cut by Washington at the end of preseason, and Taylor Jacobs, who took over as a starter after David Patten had season-ending knee surgery last Friday, have combined for 30 career catches in their five seasons. That's fewer than No. 1 receiver Santana Moss had in the first five games this season, so Gibbs said the Redskins will consider signing another receiver. Veteran Kevin Dyson and kick returner Antonio Brown, who both were in camp with Washington, are possibilities.

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