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Cofield Optimistic About Injury Timetable


Even in victory last night, the Washington Redskins suffered a major loss, as nose tackle Barry Cofield left the game with broken bones in his hand.

But the team captain downplayed the injury to the media following the game, saying he was still optimistic he would be available for Week 1 of the regular season.

"I do not know. Hopefully we can tape it up, and I can definitely get some work in practice, and we'll see what the coach's plan is," Cofield said. "Obviously, my main goal – the most important game – is Philly, and I'd be surprised if I wasn't able to be out there."

Cofield was uncertain how the injury occurred, but it happened while he was putting pressure on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

"I'm not really sure what happened. I keep my fingers taped up, so I'm not really positive how it happened," he said, shaking his head. "I don't know if it hit the ground, or got stepped on, or a helmet [hit it].

"I was telling the guys that I broke the same bone in my other hand in eighth grade and came back and played great in middle school football. So I'm not too worried about it, and I think I should bounce back with a little tape and TLC (tender loving care)."

Good news for Cofield and the Redskins is that the injury was a "clean break" and will not require surgery to correct.

Head coach Mike Shanahan confirmed that Cofield would likely be OK, but would need to wear a cast to protect the hand.

"He's OK. He can wave it so we've got to put a little cast on it, but I'm sure that's not going to keep him out," Shanahan said. "Most guys right now would be in the hospital in intensive care, but he's able to talk to you guys so it gives you an idea of how tough he is.

"He'll be able to play through it."

Shanahan went on to praise Cofield's play before the injury, as No. 96 was part of a defensive pressure pack that had quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the run all night.

"Barry's been playing great...and I was pleased with our defense," he said. "Anytime you have three turnovers, you have four sacks, you hold a football team to 13 points, you know you've got to play good collectively."

The Redskins are 20 days away from the regular season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.

If Cofield is unable to go for any stretch of time, he expressed confidence in reserves Chris Neild and Ron Brace to fill in in his place.

"They both played well in the first game. Coach was pleased with them," Cofield said. "The tape looked good, and Chris [Neild] just bounced back from his knee injury better than we could have hoped for.

"We've got a lot of depth, and we've already taken some losses up front, but Coach has worked tirelessly with everybody – getting to practice against our offense, which is a tall order for our D-line with our scheme.

"We feel like if we can compete with those guys, then we can compete with anybody. And so far, I think we've been pretty solid."




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