Bostic has career-threatening injury


ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins found another hurdle in their difficult obstacle course yesterday.

The Redskins, already coping with the burden of being defending champions, lost another starter when center Jeff Bostic was placed on the injured-reserve list with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

When Bostic suffered the injury late in the second period Sunday, the Redskins thought it was just a sprained shoulder.

By Tuesday, they upgraded it to a sprained rotator cuff and said he'd be out for at least a game. By Wednesday, they feared he would be out for four or five weeks.

A more extensive examination revealed he tore the rotator cuff. He will undergo surgery tomorrow and will be out 10 to 12 weeks, which means he probably will miss the rest of the season. Since he's in his 13th season at age 34, it might be a career-ending injury.

Bostic is one of the five veterans who have been with the Redskins since coach Joe Gibbs arrived in 1981. He's one of the players Gibbs counts on for leadership.

Bostic was put on injured reserve along with linebacker Ravin Caldwell, who's been bothered by a knee injury.

With three spots open on the roster (wide receiver Stephen Hobbs went on injured reserve last week), the Redskins signed linebacker John Brantley, who was cut at the start of the season, wide receiver Carl Harry, a former Redskin, and activated David Gulledge from the practice squad.

They have 11 players on their injured-reserve list and are allowed to bring only five of them back without exposing them to the waiver wire.

They hope to use two of those moves this weekend to activate offensive lineman Mo Elewonibi, who's yet to play in a regular-season game, and defensive tackle Eric Williams, who hurt his knee in August. The Redskins want to make sure they hold up in practice this week before they make the moves. Gulledge and Harry then would go on the practice squad.

Bostic is the second veteran starter who's probably out for the year. Cornerback Darrell Green broke his forearm in the second game and probably won't be back.

That means that two of the seven senior players on the team are out for the year, and the Redskins are dangerously thin in both the offensive line and in the defensive backfield.

With Bostic out, left guard Raleigh McKenzie will move to center, left tackle Joe Jacoby will move to left guard and Ed Simmons will go in at right tackle.

For backups, that'll leave rookie Matt Elliott, Elewonibi, Ray Brown, who injured his ankle last week, and center Guy Bingham, who's mostly a long snapper.

At cornerback, with Green out and with A.J. Johnson's situation up in the air because of a compound dislocation of a ring finger, Alvoid Mays will start.

The Redskins seem concerned mainly about the offensive-line situation.

"Those guys are precious commodities," Gibbs said. "They may not be written about like some of the other positions on the team, but any coach will tell you they're probably some of the most valuable people you have."

Gibbs, though, thinks the backups can step in. "You fight your whole career to have backup guys who are ready to go in and play," he said.

It's the second serious injury of Bostic's career. He missed the last eight games of the 1984 season with a knee injury, but he was 26 then. It'll be more difficult now to make it back.

Elewonibi knows he has to stay healthy if he's needed Monday night against the Denver Broncos.

"This is my shot," he said. "This pretty much is going to be make or break [time]."

NOTES: Cornerback Johnson went out on the practice field in pads with his dislocated finger wrapped in a thick bandage. But he was limited to running and the doctors haven't given him the approval to play against the Broncos.

Redskins on IR

Name.... .... .. Pos.... .... Injury

Jeff Bostic* ... C... ... ... Shoulder

John Brandes ... TE... ... .. Knee

Ravin Caldwell ..LB... ... .. Knee

Mo Elewonibi ... OL... ... .. Shoulder

Darrell Green* ..CB... ... .. Arm

Chris Hakel ... .QB... ... .. Shoulder

Terry Hoage... . DB... ... .. Arm

Stephen Hobbs... WR... ... .. Knee

James Jenkins .. TE... ... .. Back

John Settle..... RB... ... .. Knee

Eric Williams... DL... ... .. Knee

* Probably out for season

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