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News & Notes: Blades, Westbrook Out vs. Atlanta

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H.B. Blades and Byron Westbrook underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last week and they are not expected to be available for this Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Blades and Westbrook both suffered meniscus tears in the Redskins' 27-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 26.

"They're both working and they're both trying to get back," Jim Zorn said after Monday's practice at Redskins Park. "They're right on schedule, and trying to get ahead of schedule."

The team has targeted the Week 10 game against the Denver Broncos for their return.

"I think they have a chance to be ready in the next game, and we'll just see how they progress," Zorn said.

Blades and Westbrook are both backups on defense, but they serve a key role on special teams.

Blades leads the Redskins with 17 special teams tackles.

If they are unable to play against the Falcons, then rookies Robert Henson and Kevin Barnes could be called into action.

Henson, a 2009 fifth-round draft pick, and Barnes, a 2009 third-rounder, have been deactivated every game this season.


-- EYE ON HEYER

Stephon Heyer continues to be slowed by a knee injury, but he is expected to be healthy enough to play in Sunday's game vs. Atlanta.

"He is actually improving," Jim Zorn said. "It's about pain tolerance and it should get better as the week goes on. We'll see how it goes."

Heyer, who has assumed the starting left tackle job with Chris Samuels on injured reserve, was on the practice field on Monday but was noticeably limping at times. He had his knee taped up.

If Heyer is unable to play, then Levi Jones would likely draw the start at left tackle.

The Redskins signed Jones on Oct. 20 to provide depth along an injury-plagued offensive line. The 6-5, 307-pounder has played left tackle most of his 7-year career. He has been out of football since last May, when he was released by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jones was active but did not play in the Oct. 26 game against Philadelphia.

He continues to get up to speed on the Redskins' offense.

"He's not just beginning as a player, he has been around for a while," Zorn said. "For Levi, it's just [learning] the terminology and the vocabulary. I think he'll fit right in. Derrick and Casey will help him. But I fully expect Stephon to be the guy."


-- FLETCHER KEEPS MOVING FORWARD

Even London Fletcher, team captain and veteran leader, gets discouraged.

At 2-5, the Redskins' season has everyone searching for answers.

Fletcher keeps his focus on the future, though.

"Those feelings [of discouragement] only last for a minute," he said. "You've got to be fired up and be ready for your next opportunity. Playing in the NFL is such a wonderful opportunity and nobody takes that for granted.

After the Redskins' bye this Sunday, they begin preparation for a Nov. 15 game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome.

Two of the Redskins' next five opponents are unbeaten--the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints.

And the Redskins have four games left against the always challenging NFC East.

"The road is not going to get any easier," Fletcher said. "We've just got to continue to work and do what we can do to turn this season around."

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