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Davis still nursing sprained ankle, but remains optimistic

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Posted: Friday January 07, 2000 01:06 AM

  Stephen Davis Stephen Davis did his end-zone dance 17 times for the Redskins in 1999. Doug Pensinger /Allsport

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- Stephen Davis ran a little pattern into the flat, caught the ball, then slowed to a walk. Head down, he made his way back to the quarterback in obvious discomfort.

Still battling a sprained ankle, the NFC's leading rusher is nevertheless optimistic he'll be able to play for the Washington Redskins in Saturday's first-round playoff game against the Detroit Lions.

"I did a lot more stuff than I did yesterday," Davis said after Thursday's practice. "I just had to get it loose. Early in practice, it was kind of tender. But once I got it going and got loose, it felt pretty good."

Davis rushed for a franchise record 1,405 yards this season, and the Redskins running game has sputtered since he sprained his ankle 2 1/2 weeks ago at Indianapolis. He returned to practice Wednesday, and Redskins officials concede he won't be full strength for the team's first playoff game in seven years.

"I think we're making progress, and we'll see where he is Saturday," coach Norv Turner said. "I believe he'll be able to start."

Asked how long Davis would play, Turner shrugged his shoulders.

Trainer Bubba Tyer also concurred with Davis' self-evaluation.

"It still bothers him," Tyer said. "But he's better."

The Redskins did not schedule a regular Friday practice because of the Saturday game. They instead were to have a stepped-up version of their usual Saturday walkthrough.

If Davis can't start or play the entire game, Turner said he will use Skip Hicks over Brian Mitchell as the regular tailback. Turner said Mitchell will continue his usual third-down role, but might get more work if Hicks is playing.

Davis, a Pro Bowl selection for the first time, had 290 carries, a 4.8-yard average and scored an NFL-high 17 touchdowns during the regular season. Hicks had 257 yards on 78 carries for a 3.3 average. Mitchell gained 220 yards on 40 attempts, a 5.5 average.

Sickly Green

Darrell Green hasn't missed a Redskins game since the last time they were in the playoffs, but he's battling bronchitis and missed practice Thursday for the second consecutive day.

"I'm not concerned about Darrell in terms of him being able to play," Turner said. "I'd like him to practice."

Green attended the morning meetings and took some game film home to study. He has started 112 consecutive games since a bruised heel forced him to come off the bench as a nickel back in the playoff loss at San Francisco in January 1993, the Redskins' last playoff game.

The heel injury also forced him to miss the previous game, a playoff victory over Minnesota.

In other injury news, defensive end Anthony Cook, who missed Wednesday's practice with an upset stomach, was back and OK Thursday. Guard Tre Johnson (bruised thigh), and linebacker Greg Jones (back spasms) also practiced and are expected to play Saturday.

I smell a rat

Brett Conway brought a huge rat and four mice to Redskin Park on Thursday and scared the wits out of tight end Mike Sellers.

Conway had vowed to get revenge on the teammates who drew on his face with a permanent marker while he slept on the flight home from the San Francisco game two weeks ago.

So Conway went to a pet store, bought the rodents and placed them in Sellers' locker. When Sellers opened it, he screamed 'like a little girl' and fell over the bench in front of the locker, according to Conway.

Several teammates rushed over to see what was happening and joined in the screaming. Finally, Michael Westbrook took the rat outside and the mice were rounded up.

"One down, two to go," said Conway, referring to his two other face-drawing suspects, Cory Raymer and Jon Jansen.

Related information
Lack of playoff experience doesn't worry Redskins
Lions (8-8) at Redskins (10-6)
Lions' Frerotte hopes for repeat performance
Redskins confident Davis' ankle will get better
Wife of Lions DT undergoes successful transplant
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