Rypien's ankle appears fine in practice QB reports no pain after final workout


MINNEAPOLIS -- Quarterback Mark Rypien showed no effects of a slightly sprained ankle during the Washington Redskins' final practice for Super Bowl XXVI yesterday.

"He's fine, he took everything," coach Joe Gibbs said after the 75-minute workout at the Minnesota Vikings' training facility in Eden Prairie. "He looked like he was [100 percent]."

Rypien mildly sprained his right ankle just before the end of Wednesday's practice. His blocking broke down on one play and lTC several players landed on top of him.

The ankle was iced Thursday night and yesterday morning. He also received electrical stimulation.

"At first there was a little tenderness," he said after yesterday's workout. "But as we got into it, there was no problem at all. Even on cuts and sprints, I felt no pain."

Said assistant coach Rod Dowhower, who is in charge of the passing game, "He looked 100 percent to me. He threw well. His mobility was fine. Everything was normal. He looked very good."

Trainer Bubba Tyer said the injury was a mild sprain of the lateral aspect of the right ankle. "There was no swelling, no discoloration, just mild point tenderness," Tyer said. "We probably won't even treat it [today]."

As an additional preventive measure, Rypien was given an oral anti-inflammatory medication.

Rypien, who normally wears an elastic support for his ankles, was taped for additional support. Tyer said that by game time "he won't even know it happened."

Tyer said the ankle will be wrapped for tomorrow's game against the Buffalo Bills.

* Ricky Ervins is tired of hearing about Timmy Smith.

"I just wish people would stop comparing me with Tim Smith. I'm sure he had a great game, but unlike him, I've been playing a lot this season and I would think people have heard of me already," he said.

Smith was the surprise rookie starter over veteran George Rogers in the Redskins' 42-10 Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos four years ago.

All Smith did in his first start was set a Super Bowl rushing record with a 204-yard effort that surpassed Marcus Allen's 191-yard day against the Redskins in the Los Angeles Raiders' 38-9 victory in Super Bowl XVIII.

The trouble is that Smith couldn't handle success. Although he started the 1988 season, he didn't keep himself in good shape, lost his starting job and was left unprotected on Plan B at the end of the year. He made stops with the San Diego Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys before fading out of the league. He's now trying to make a comeback in the new professional spring league.

Ervins won't start because of Earnest Byner, but the rookie is virtually sharing time with Byner. Ervins gained 680 yards this year and he wouldn't be surprised if he has a big day in the Super Bowl.

"I've been contributing all year so if I do win the MVP award, it shouldn't be a surprise," he said.

* The Redskins announced yesterday they'll activate safety Terry Hoage from the injured reserve list. He went on the injured list with a broken arm Oct. 26, but he's recovered now and the Redskins figure they can use him against Buffalo's wide-open attack.

The Redskins are likely to take safety Alvin Walton off the roster to make room for Hoage. Coach Joe Gibbs said Matt Millen, who wasn't in uniform for the first two playoff games when he was on the inactive list, will remain on the roster although it's uncertain if he'll be in uniform. He could be inactive again. Millen can become the first player to be on three different Super Bowl champion teams even though he might not play in the game.

* Wide receiver Ricky Sanders only worked lightly because of his sore quadriceps muscle, but the Redskins said he'll be ready for the game.

* Indian activists started their Super Bowl protest of Washington's use of the Redskins nickname last night outside the media hotel. They held placards reading, "We're not mascots" and chanted, "Jack Kent Cooke, change the name." Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the Redskins have said they don't consider the nickname demeaning and have no plans to change it.

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