Husak to Start in Pre Season

CARLISLE, Pa.,--They agree his arm is sore and needs rest. They have no idea, however, how much rest is needed. And that's why Jeff George's shoulder problems could cause Washington to stumble, at least early in the season.

George won't play in Sunday's preseason opener at Kansas City because of tendinitis in his right shoulder. He underwent an MRI on Monday which revealed no structural damage. However, noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews was expected to look at the MRI last night or this morning.

George threw in practice Sunday for the first time since hurting his arm on July 31. He threw mostly short passes without the customary George rifle-arm. Afterward he said he felt fine.

However, he later told Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer that he felt pain after a particular throw. So he didn't practice Monday and is unlikely to practice again until Aug. 14 at the earliest.

The Redskins say all he needs is rest, something they had hoped he had enough of last week.

''We were headed in the right direction but we didn't take it far enough,'' Schottenheimer said. ''I have no idea how long it will be. I don't want him to [overcompensate] for it and then cause other problems. That's the essence of my decision.''

George has never suffered from tendinitis before, leaving him in the dark as to how long this takes to heal. The problem is, George is essential to Washington's offense, and its success this season. An unhealthy George presents too many headaches for the Redskins.

The veteran quarterback said he's not concerned and says rest will heal his pain. But the Redskins, though, are trying to install a new offense and they're missing their most important piece. Also, starting tight end Stephen Alexander might not play in the Chiefs game as well. He hasn't practiced since July 31 because of a strained hamstring.

Schottenheimer said the Redskins eventually might pare down the playbook for the season opener against San Diego, depending on how long George sits out. But Schottenheimer said they're not searching for a veteran quarterback, saying none is available who fits their needs. That could change later depending on George's status.

For now Todd Husak will start, getting a chance to prove he's at least a quality backup.

NOTES NOTES NOTES NOTES NOTES

. . . Tight end Zeron Flemister continues to impress. Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer has constantly brought his name up over the past two days. With Stephen Alexander sidelined for at least a few more days, Flemister will get more opportunities to show what he can do. Flemister is a near lock to make the team as a third tight end.

''He looks like Ozzie Newsome, catching everything high and low,'' Schottenheimer said, referring to the Hall of Famer he coached in Cleveland.

. . . Redskins end Marco Coleman strained his back when tackle Jon Jansen fell on top of him. Coleman could miss two to three days. . . . Receiver Kevin Lockett (upper hamstring) did not practice yesterday, but is expected to resume workouts today. . . Tight end Stephen Alexander jogged during practice yesterday, testing his strained hamstring. Alexander said he expects to be out at least a few more days.

''The worst thing to do is to come back too quickly,'' he said. ''I'm trying to make sure it's all right when I go so it's not nagging me for the rest of the season.''

. . .The Redskins signed end Dorian Boose, a second-round pick by the Jets in 1998. The 6-foot-5, 292-pound Boose also can play tackle. Boose played in 34 games in three seasons with the Jets.

. . . Schottenheimer said kick returner Michael Bates will have an opportunity to return punts during the preseason, something the former Pro Bowl returner has rarely done. But Winston October likely will be the first player to return punts vs. Kansas City.

. . . Second-year corner Lloyd Harrison continues to slide. He was beaten on three straight pass plays in the morning workout.


John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly.

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