John Hall strolled into the Redskins Park locker room on Wednesday, walking without any trace of the groin injury that has caused him to miss the last three games. But when asked about how well the injury was progressing, Hall cautioned that he still felt pain when he followed through on kicks.
"I look normal walking down the hall, but it's when I kick, it's pulling [during the kicking motion]," Hall said.
Hall is officially listed as out for Sunday's game against Cincinnati. Ola Kimrin will continue to serve as place kicker for the Redskins in Hall's place.
Said Hall: "I feel better every week. It's just one of those things where you have to rest it. I want to get back out there and help the team out. But a groin injury is something that I've never dealt with before."
Hall has been durable throughout his seven-year NFL career. He has missed just one NFL game-the last game of the 2000 season when he was with the New York Jets.
Hall said he continues to lift weights, watch film and attend meetings. But he won't feel like he's contributing until he is back on the field and able to kick without pain.
"I'm frustrated with how long [the recovery] is taking," he said. "To never miss a game in your career, and then all of a sudden I miss three, it's not easy to take. I'm just trying to do what [team athletic trainers] tell me to do and get back on the field as fast as possible."
The Redskins unveiled a halfback option pass last Sunday--and the result was a 15-yard touchdown pass from Clinton Portis to Laveranues Coles. So will that play become something that fans can watch for with regularity in the weeks ahead?
"I think it depends on the [running back] and if he's able to show he can really control the ball," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "Lots of times, with the running back, what discourages you is that they'll throw it no matter what. You almost have to make them sign an oath saying, 'You will throw this out of bounds if the receiver is not open.'"
Gibbs said he used to trust Earnest Byner to throw the halfback option pass when Byner was a Redskins tailback from 1989-93. But while Portis is 1-for-1 with the play, Gibbs joked he doesn't know what to make of Portis's awkward throwing motion.
"He flipped it up with his leg up in the air," Gibbs said, laughing. "When I saw the form, I said 'We're in deep trouble.' But the ball went right where it had to go. The safety didn't really bite on it like we thought he would. He played it pretty good."
The Redskins may be 3-5, but they are only one game back of being in the thick of the NFC Wild Card race. Players and coaches know what's at stake in the next few weeks.
"November is the most important month that you have to win games because it sets up December," said defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Greg Blache. "Right now, we're 1-0 in November. If we can win the rest of our games in November, we'll be in good shape to make a run."