"It was a good thing it happened towards the end of the game because I barely made it out to the bus," Salave'a said. "I thought maybe my season was over, but I tried to be optimistic. Our line of work is all about hands and feet, so it's kind of hard to take time off to heal."
Salave'a has missed eight of 11 practices since he was injured, but he has started every Sunday.
"I guess I don't know better," Salave'a said. "Everything is up to my tolerance of the situation at this point. The MRIs come up negative. After the season, we'll talk about it and see what my options are. I'm not trying to turn heads by being a tough guy. I'm just trying to help the team. Hopefully, I'm doing the right thing.
"When my foot gets inflamed, it's just a matter of reinforcing the tape and trying to get some sort of comfort level. I feel good just standing and talking to you, but pushing off and making contact, that's when the excruciating pain happens."
Salave'a admitted that part of the reason he's enduring the pain is the absence of fellow tackles Brandon Noble (on injured reserve after knee surgery), Cornelius Griffin (sidelined with a hip flexor injury since the opening series of the Oct. 30 loss at Giants Stadium), and Cedric Killings (out since spraining an ankle against the Chiefs).
"Joe's a warrior," defensive line coach Greg Blache said. "A lot of guys would be home in bed, but Joe's out there competing. That's mental toughness. My statement to guys is always, 'Don't come out and hurt the team. I don't need John Wayne. If you can help us win, help us win. If you're going be less than the next guy, don't go out there.'"
Salave'a wasn't less than the next guy last Sunday at Tampa Bay. He made six tackles, tied for his third-most for a game in his two years as a Redskin, and forced the first fumble of his seven-year career at the Buccaneers 6-yard line that set up a Washington touchdown.
"I just tried to make plays," Salave'a said. "I was in the right place at the right time on the fumble. I had to get taped a couple of times during the game and at halftime. A couple of times I had to switch my stance to ease the pain a little bit."
Player Personnel Notes
--WR David Patten should learn Friday whether he needs to have arthroscopic surgery on the knee that has been bothering him the past two weeks. Patten, who's officially doubtful for Sunday, will be replaced in the starting lineup by James Thrash. Jimmy Farris, who was in training camp with Washington, could be signed as a fourth receiver behind Santana Moss, Thrash and Taylor Jacobs.
--LDT Cornelius Griffin missed an eighth straight practice with the hip flexor injury he aggravated on the first play of the 36-0 loss to the Giants on Oct. 30. If, as expected, Griffin misses a third straight game on Sunday, that will exceed his total of the previous two years combined. Demetric Evans would likely make a third straight start.
--FS Sean Taylor returned to practice for the first time since aggravating his sprained right ankle on Nov. 6 against Philadelphia. Taylor, who missed last week's loss at Tampa Bay, should start on Sunday.
--RDE Phillip Daniels returned to practice. Daniels has missed the last three Wednesdays but hasn't missed a game. He's probable for Sunday.
--RB Ladell Betts missed a second straight practice with the sprained knee he suffered last Sunday. Betts probably won't play against Oakland. Rock Cartwright would take his place as Clinton Portis' backup and next to James Thrash on kickoff returns.