Washington Redskins wide receiver Art Monk, who injured his right knee in last Sunday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals, will miss the rest of the regular season but could be back for the playoffs, team officials said.
Monk, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, suffered a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in the third quarter of the Redskins' 34-17 win. He later underwent a procedure called Magnetic Resonance Imagery, which gives doctors a picture of the knee ligaments. Monk will spend 10 days to two weeks in a splint before being re-evaluated, head trainer Bubba Tyer said.
Offensive assistant Dan Henning, who works with the wide receivers, said he doesn't believe the team expects Monk back before January. The Redskins, who clinchedthe NFC East division title at St. Louis, play Dallas Sunday at RFK Stadium, then travel to Miami and Minnesota to end the regular season. Other than playing for home field advantage in the playoffs, the games will have little bearing in the standings for the Redskins.
The team certainly will be in the market for a receiver to back up Gary Clark, Ricky Sanders and Eric Yarber. Clarence Verdin, a speedy, big-play specialist who has been hurt more than he has been healthy, is on injured reserve and could be activated. Henning said three former replacement players--Anthony Allen, Derrick Shepard and Ted Wilson are possibilities. Verdin could be used on special teams. In two seasons with the USFL's Houston Gamblers, Verdin returned four kickoffs for touchdowns.
"It's up in the air right now," Henning said.
Monk's injury is the same as the one three other Redskins starters suffered earlier in the season. Defensive end Dexter Manley was injured Aug. 8 and did not play in a game until Sept. 20. Offensive tackle Mark May was injured Sept. 5 and did not return until Oct. 25. Center Russ Grimm was injured Nov. 8 and won't be able to practice for "at least one more week," Coach Joe Gibbs said. That means Grimm will be ready for the Dolphins Dec. 20 at the earliest. If Grimm returns slowly, he might not play until Dec. 26 against the Vikings, or the playoff game.
Manley and May did not undergo arthroscopic surgery, but Grimm did. In all three cases, the partially torn ligament kept the player out at least six weeks. The Redskins' playoff game is five weeks from the weekend of Monk's injury. This is important, because while Monk has had his troubles this season dropping well-thrown passes, he still is second on the team with 38 catches for 483 yards. Now 30 and in his eighth season, Monk also is the veteran of a young receiving corps.
Gibbs, who optimistically said he hopes Monk will be back in three weeks, said there is a "possibility" Monk will be placed on injured reserve.
Gibbs has another position where decisions must be made. At running back, Keith Griffin has a strained left anterior quadriceps (thigh) and probably will be doubtful for the Dallas game. Tyer said: "It will take probably more than five days to get him ready."
Throw in that Kelvin Bryant still is recovering from ankle and hamstring injuries, and one has to wonder who is the Redskins' passing-down back this week.
"I think Kelvin will be ready," running backs coach Don Breaux said. "If he isn't, Timmy Smith has experience there, and we always have (tight end and former college running back) Terry Orr ready." Orr played running back at the end of the St. Louis game after Griffin was injured.
If they are short a running back on Sunday, the Redskins might activate ex-replacement player Tim Jessie, but he is known more for his running ability, not as a receiver out of the backfield.