Back spasms will keep Sanders out of scrimmage against Ravens


ASHBURN, Va. - Back spasms kept the Washington Redskins' flashiest player, Deion Sanders, from practicing yesterday.

But Sanders' absence did not take away the flare from a team practice that included two halfback passes, five wide receiver formations, safety blitzes and receivers posing as running backs.

All that was in preparation for tonight's scrimmage against the Ravens at FedEx Field. The scrimmage is a sellout and will be followed by a concert.

"One of the things you do in training camp, you want to see as many things as you can," Redskins coach Norv Turner said. "Some of the things we are doing offensively, we are doing because our defense needs to see them. Some of the things we are doing defensively, we are doing because our offense needs to see them."

Sanders missed out on the fun of yesterday's practice after stretching to deflect a pass in Wednesday's practice. He is listed as day-to-day and could see some action in the seven-on-seven drills tonight but will likely not be able to go until this weekend. Sanders' back has not been a problem in the past, and the injury is viewed as minor.

If Sanders does get in some work tonight, he definitely will not participate in the scrimmage. None of his other fellow starters will either, and Turner said this will primarily be a chance for the young players and rookies to go up against different players.

The rookies will probably not include first-round picks LaVar Arrington and Chris Samuels. Samuels is listed as a starter, and Arrington, though second-string for now, missed a week of practice due to a contract dispute and may not be ready for live action.

"They are definitely going to take part in the one-on-one protection stuff in terms of Chris," Turner said. "LaVar will do all the seven-on-seven stuff. I haven't made a decision yet about the scrimmage."

One of the players Turner will look at tonight is second-year wide receiver Derrius Thompson, who spent most of last season on the practice squad.

He has been impressive in camp, fighting for the No. 5 receiver spot behind Michael Westbrook, Albert Connell, Irving Fryar and James Thrash.

Looking at the number of times the Redskins went five-wide yesterday, that may not be such a bad spot. Thompson made the catch of the day yesterday, leaping to hall down a 25-yard Jeff George pass.

"I'm excited because I really didn't get a chance to play last year," Thompson said. "I'll get a chance to go out there and show what I can do against another team. I know what I can do."

Backup running backs Adrian Murrell and Skip Hicks will not play in the scrimmage. Chad Dukes will get the majority of carries at running back. Murrell had his fair share of action yesterday, throwing a halfback pass intended for Westbrook that was intercepted by Mark Carrier.

Thrash even saw time in the backfield, running for a 7-yard gain on a sweep.

"You put certain things in to make sure your defense is playing it soundly," Turner said. "I think we've thrown one halfback pass since I've been here, and I think it looked about like that. It ended up in the other team's hands. So that is not my favorite play."

NOTES: The Redskins signed kicker Peter Elezovic yesterday. Kicker Brett Conway has a quadriceps injury and is listed as week-to-week. Turner said it was his plan to bring in another kicker even before Conway's injury. ... Tight end Chris Smith (ankle), running back Norman Miller (back) and guard Jon Osterhout all missed practice yesterday and are expected to miss the scrimmage. ... The post-scrimmage concert will feature Martina McBride, Montell Jordan and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

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