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News & Notes: Williams' Ankle Injury a 'Setback'

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Mike Williams is questionable for this Saturday's preseason game against Pittsburgh after suffering a sprained ankle in practice this week.

The injury, described as a low ankle sprain, is a "setback" in Williams' comeback effort, Jim Zorn said.

"He's trying to get the swelling down," Zorn said. "I can't say [his status] is day to day because he's not going to be at practice [on Thursday]. We're going to try to get him ready as soon as we can.

"That has to do with his ankle and how it responds...I don't have a track history with Mike, so I don't know how fast he can go and how much he can tough out. But if he's gimping around, we're not going to play him."

Williams is competing with Stephon Heyer and Jeremy Bridges for the Redskins' starting job at right tackle.

Zorn indicated that there was time for Williams to get healthy and still compete for the job.

"He has learned a lot as he has participated," Zorn said. "There'll be some rust, but we have a little time to get him revved up."

Williams emerged as one of the feel-good stories of training camp after he lost more than 100 pounds last spring to get in shape and make a run at a Redskins roster spot.

A former 2002 first-round draft pick, Williams has not played in an NFL regular season game since 2005.

Williams, a 2002 first-round draft pick who has not played in an NFL regular season game since 2005, weighed in at 342 pounds at the start of camp.

Williams' body has had to catch up, so to speak, to his weight loss. He has had to adjust his footwork and technique to his new body frame, coaches say. It has not always been an easy transition.


Earlier in training camp, Williams was slowed by an abdominal injury. He recovered in time to play in last Thursday's preseason game at Baltimore.

Offensive lineman Devin Clark sustained a knee injury during Wednesday morning's practice. His status was not immediately available.


-- COOLEY SIDELINED

It's a rare thing for Chris Cooley to miss a practice.

But on Wednesday morning, Cooley felt soreness in his back when he woke up. The team decided to keep Cooley out of practice.

It is just the second practice that Cooley has missed in six seasons with the Redskins.

"It's just a little muscle spasm in my lower back," Cooley said. "It's a little sore. It just has to calm down. The flexibility is fine."

Cooley said he expects to return to practice on Thursday.


-- BLACHE ON SMOOT

Fred Smoot could play a key role for the Redskins' defense this year. As the senior member of the secondary, he continues to serve as a third cornerback and is also learning to play safety.

"He is taking that role that Shawn Springs had for us last year, as that veteran corner that can help the young guys and also branch out and create some depth for us at a second position," defensive coordinator Greg Blache said.

"I'm very pleased that he's willing to take that on. It's not easy to do that. It's a whole different perspective of the game than being on the corner. But I think Fred realizes he could add some years to his career if he can go inside and play safety when he loses a step at corner.

"As crazy as he is and as much foolishness as he come sup with, he's also a leader. Behind all the comedy, he's a guy who keeps guys going in the right direction."


-- DANIELS TREATS KNEE

Phillip Daniels was sidelined for Wednesday morning's practice after he had fluid drained from his knee.

The procedure is considered minor and Daniels said he expects to play in this Saturday's preseason game against the Steelers.

"There was just a little swelling, nothing major," Daniels said. "It's not a setback, thank God. This was just a precaution."

Daniels is returning to action after missing all of the 2008 season due to a knee ligament injury. He started at left defensive end in the Redskins' preseason opener vs. Baltimore last week.

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