The struggling Washington Redskins suffered another major setback yesterday with the news that defensive lineman Charles Mann will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee tomorrow.
The surgery, which will be performed in Birmingham, Ala., by Dr. Charles Andrews, will be Mann's eighth knee operation, including six on his right knee.
"It's not good news," coach Richie Petitbon said. "Charles is one of our best players. You can't lose a guy like that and not be affected. It just means our healthy guys are going to have to play their tails off."
Mann, 32, underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging exam after the Philadelphia Eagles game two weeks ago when the knee limited him to 17 plays. The MRI did not reveal any major damage to the knee.
The Redskins had hoped the injury would heal with rest and Mann would be able to play tomorrow night against the Miami Dolphins. But when he tried to run this week, the knee swelled up.
"We thought the best thing was to get it done to find out when we can get him back," Petitbon said.
The Redskins are assuming there's some type of cartilage damage in the knee and are hoping it's minor so Mann can be back in a month or so to play the second half of the season. But they're not making any forecast until Mann undergoes the surgery.
The Redskins already are missing another starting defensive lineman, Eric Williams, with knee and hip injuries. They may move right end Al Noga to Mann's left end spot. Rookie Sterling Palmer, who's coming back from a knee injury, also could get some work there if he can play. Jason Buck, who can play all four positions, filled in for Mann against the Eagles.
The Redskins, who've lost two straight and have a 1-2 record, also go into the Miami game without quarterback Mark Rypien (knee) and their best offensive lineman, Jim Lachey, who's out for the year.
The Redskins suffered two other minor injuries in practice yesterday when wide receivers Ricky Sanders (shoulder) and Art Monk (ankle) were hurt. They're both expected to play against the Dolphins, but their condition could mean Desmond Howard may get more of a chance to play.
Running back Reggie Brooks, who missed Friday's practice with a minor groin injury suffered in a freak accident at home, returned to full duty yesterday and will make his first start against the Dolphins.