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News & Notes: Arrington Back At Practice

Linebacker LaVar Arrington returned to practice on Wednesday, but he remains listed as questionable for this Saturday's game against the New York Giants.

Asked about Arrington's practice status, head coach Joe Gibbs said: "LaVar took a lot of work today."

Arrington's status for Saturday will likely be determined by how well his thigh holds up through practice this week. In recent workouts, Arrington had shown improved range of motion in the thigh, according to team trainers.

Arrington has missed the Redskins' last two games due to a thigh injury. If Arrington is unable to play, Warrick Holdman would likely take over in his place, with Chris Clemons playing some on passing downs.

Meantime, cornerback Carlos Rogers is also questionable for Saturday's game. Gibbs was not optimistic that he would have Rogers' services, however. Rogers has been slowed by a biceps injury and sat out last Sunday's win over Dallas.

"It's still pretty sore," Gibbs said of Rogers' status. "I think we're going to have to have something really good happen to us for him to play this weekend."

James Thrash, who has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury, was not listed on the team's injury report and should be available to play in Saturday's game against the Giants.

Thrash was full-go during Wednesday's practice and Gibbs said the team would continue to monitor the veteran wide receiver's recovery.

Safety Matt Bowen, cornerback Shawn Springs and left tackle Chris Samuels are listed as probable for Saturday's game. Samuels and Springs sat out Wednesday's practice so that they could get some additional rest in a short week.

Overall, Gibbs felt good about the team's injury situation entering what is certainly the biggest game of the season.

"I feel like we're better than what we were last week, that's for sure," Gibbs said. "We were scrambling last week. I don't think we could rate ourselves as healthy, but we're better.

-- THE RUN GAME

The Redskins' offense has emphasized the run in recent weeks--and it has paid dividends. Clinton Portis has rushed for 100-plus yards each of the last three games and it has been instrumental in the Redskins' three-game winning streak.

Joe Gibbs pointed to the Week 11 game against the Raiders as a turning point in the team's offensive play calling.

"I'm thinking back to the Raiders game where we analyzed it and we really did get out of balance," Gibbs said. "We threw the ball more than we wanted."

Added Gibbs: "What you are striving for is balance. Up here, you are not going to beat people if you are one-dimensional. We want to make sure we don't get into a game and and say we let it get away from us by throwing the ball too much."

-- NICKNAME FOR SALAVE'A

It turns out that Joe Salave'a's defensive linemates have taken to calling the 6-3, 295-pounder "Big Panda."

"I don't know, I guess they see a big, smiley guy who has the traits of a panda," Salave'a said, buckling over in laughter at his locker. "Pandas do get upset sometimes, now. That's why I take it out on the offenses."

In Sunday's game, the Redskins' defensive line logged five of the team's seven sacks, with Phillip Daniels logging a career-high four sacks.

"The personalities on the line are way different," Daniels said. "But we seem to connect in some kind of way. Renaldo [Wynn] is the preacher. We call Joe 'Big Panda.' He's a big Samoan. Cornelius [Griffin] wants to be the comedian and I'm kind of quiet. I guess we fit together. We just get along well."

GIANTS INJURY REPORT

Giants' middle linebacker and former Redskin Antonio Pierce will not play in Saturday's game. Pierce has a high ankle sprain.

Pierce played in the Week 8 game and logged a team-high 11 tackles and one interception. He was also credited with giving his teammates a heads-up on certain schemes in Gregg Williams' defense.

Phillip Daniels discounted that as a factor in the outcome of the game, a 36-0 win by the Giants.

"We pretty much knew that Antonio would tip them off a bit," Daniels said. "But we just didn't play well that day. We have to come out and play better."

The Giants also list defensive tackle William Joseph and linebacker Carlos Emmons as doubtful for the game. Joseph has an ankle injury while Emmons has a pectoral muscle injury.

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