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ESPN: LA Fined and out


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Thursday, September 23, 2004

By Len Pasquarelli


Talk about a tough Thursday for Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington.

First, the NFL dipped into his bank account, fining Arrington $5,000 for a hit he levied on New York Giants tailback Tiki Barber in last Sunday's game. Later in the day, a surgeon cut into his right knee to repair a torn meniscus cartilage.

The latter operation, of course, figures to be the more painful of the two for Arrington and the Redskins. It means the five-year veteran and Pro Bowl performer will definitely miss Monday's much-ballyhooed divisional contest against the Dallas Cowboys, and he will likely be out for 2-4 weeks, barring complications.

Arrington missed the team's Thursday practice to visit with renowned Birmingham, Ala.-based orthopedics specialist Dr. James Andrews, who examined the linebacker's balky right knee and quickly advised him to undergo the arthroscopic procedure.

He originally injured his knee in the season opener and aggravated what the Redskins had termed a "sprained knee" in last week's loss to the Giants. The knee swelled considerably in the days after that game and the club opted to have Arrington re-evaluated by Andrews, who serves as a senior orthopedic consultant to the franchise.

Even before surgery was indicated, coach Joe Gibbs acknowledged that it would take "a miracle" for Arrington to play Monday night, given the degree of swelling.

Arrington has 13 tackles and one sack in the first two games of the season.

With the fiery Arrington out of the lineup, coordinator Gregg Williams will have to decide from a few options: He could move little-used third-year veteran Lemar Marshall, primarily a special teams player, into Arrington's spot on the weak side. Or, if injured middle linebacker Michael Barrow is ready to play after missing the first two games, he could resume his role as the starter. That would allow the Redskins to move Antonio Pierce, who has played well as the starter in the middle, to the weak side.

Arrington was fined by the league for a play in which he grabbed Barber's facemask and twisted it. It is not known yet if Arrington will appeal the fine.

The play in question did not draw a penalty during the contest, since game officials felt Arrington had grabbed Barber around the shoulder pads. The infraction was spotted, though, when NFL officials reviewed videotape of the game.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here .

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