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Trotter eager to return to full health

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Trotter eager to return to full health


By Jody Foldesy


Washington Redskins linebacker Jeremiah Trotter acknowledged he was frustrated with his ACL rehabilitation after his morning workout was cut short because of soreness in his knee yesterday.

Trotter, who tore an ACL in the Thanksgiving Day loss at Dallas, called himself "75, 80 percent" and conceded he might have to start curtailing his workout regimen. He opened training camp optimistic and planned to participate in a number of two-a-days. Yesterday he got in only some individual work before sitting out the rest of the day.

"I guess I've got to start taking a little more time off," Trotter said. "I've been kind of hard-headed. But it's hard to sit on the side. I feel when I'm not out there that somebody's running my defense. I just want to be out there with the guys, but I've still got to be smart."

Wide receiver Cliff Russell and defensive end Regan Upshaw also are experiencing the natural vacillations of ACL rehab. Russell, who tore his knee at the start of 2002 training camp, did only individual work the past two days. Meanwhile, Upshaw, who had ACL surgery last summer and an arthroscopic procedure in June, skipped Sunday and Monday.

"Your knee's fine, but you just haven't run around on it for a long time," Russell said. "These two-a-days irritate it. It's still in the process of healing and getting used to all this running. By the time two-a-days are over, it should be fine."

Trotter and Russell helped each other through rehab this offseason, particularly during the quiet periods at Redskin Park when few other players were around.

"Me and Cliff got real close," Trotter said. "We saw each other every day. At times, me and him, we were the only two people up here. I learned a lot about him. So I keep track of him, and he keeps track of me."

Trying to cheer Russell up is a way for Trotter to cheer himself up. But it doesn't always work. And because Trotter considers himself a leader, he refuses to show any frustration around his teammates.

"I can't let my teammates down," Trotter said. "So sometimes I can't be human. I just have to be down when I get in my room. I go pray about it, and that makes me feel a lot better."

Trotter hopes the combination of rehab and rest allows him to be 100 percent by the time the season starts. For now, he plans on getting "four to eight" plays in Saturday's preseason opener at Carolina.

First-string action

Third-round pick Derrick Dockery got some reps at first-string right guard when Randy Thomas took the afternoon off with an inflamed knee.

Line coach Kim Helton said Dockery will get a few snaps with the starters Saturday to see how he holds up and then play quite a bit with the reserves.

"He hasn't blocked anybody in a game yet, so we'll see," Helton said. "But in the comfort zone of a practice, he's doing some real nice things."

Dockery probably will see time at both guard spots and right tackle. If he maintains his play, he could be Washington's first lineman off the bench. He eventually might push for a starting job.

Extra points

Wide receiver Laveranues Coles got kicked in the head during the morning practice and was checked for a mild concussion. He seemed OK, though, and returned to drills within a few minutes. ... Coach Steve Spurrier said the starters will get "10 to 15" plays at Carolina. ... Defensive lineman Nic Clemons strained a hip flexor and could be out for some time.

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