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Fletcher Among Eight Starters to Miss Practice


London Fletcher was among eight starters sidelined in practice on Wednesday as the Redskins gear up for a critical NFC East battle with the New York Giants.

Fletcher is slowed by a foot injury suffered in last week's game against the Seattle Seahawks.

During practice on Wednesday, Fletcher was wearing a walking boot on his injured foot.

"He's still idle," Jim Zorn said. "We'd like to get him back as soon as we can. If we can't get him on the field by Friday, I think that would be a problem."

H.B. Blades would replace Fletcher at middle linebacker.

"H.B. has done it before," Zorn said. "He'll run around and play fast. We'd like our starter there, our captain there, but sometimes somebody else has to go."

Complicating matters is that Marcus Washington is sidelined with a high ankle sprain. Washington is not expected to be available for the Giants game.

Alfred Fincher could make his first Redskins start in place of Washington.

Fincher, a third-year linebacker, has played mostly special teams this season.

The Redskins could also turn to defensive end Jason Taylor to play some outside linebacker. He shifted to outside linebacker at times during the Seahawks game.

"The more you can do," Taylor said of playing linebacker. "I played some linebacker the last couple years in Miami, so it's something I know I can do and I feel comfortable doing."

Added Zorn: "We have tried to move Jason around so that he can be in position to be on different offensive linemen and not get him stuck on a big left tackle all day. We're trying to figure out the right combination, and Jason is a part of that."

The Redskins were also missing three defensive linemen in Wednesday's practice: Andre Carter, Cornelius Griffin and Kedric Golston.

Carter has a plantar fascitis injury, Golston has a bone spur in his ankle and Griffin has a sore shoulder.

Golston was wearing a walking boot as well, but he told reporters on Wednesday that he has not ruled out playing against the Giants on Sunday.

"We'll find some guys to line up and go play," Greg Blache said of his injured starters. "Hopefully it's those guys, but if it's not, it's not. You don't worry about things you can't control, and this is something we can't control, so we'll go play."

With so many defensive linemen banged up, it's likely that Ryan Boschetti, signed by the Redskins on Tuesday, could see action against the Giants.

The Redskins could need as many healthy bodies as possible against the Giants, who have the NFL's top-ranked ground game and feature a big, bruising back in Brandon Jacobs.

Anthony Montgomery returned from an Achilles injury and was full-go in Wednesday's practice. His presence as a run-stopper should help up the middle.

On the offensive side of the ball, Clinton Portis sat out practice on Wednesday to rest a knee injury.

Portis has been able to play the last two games despite the injury. He rushed for 143 yards on 29 carries in the Redskins' win over the Seahawks.

Portis has played through a number of injuries in recent weeks, earning plaudits from Zorn and teammates for his toughness.

Chris Samuels and Pete Kendall also sat out practice on Wednesday due to lingering knee injuries.

Like Portis, Samuels has been able to play the last two games despite the injury.

Kendall has sat out Wednesday practices the last few weeks, but he has been able to suit up on Sundays.

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