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News & Notes: Tupa, Royal Likely Out

Punter Tom Tupa and tight end Robert Royal will likely not play in Friday night's preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, head coach Joe Gibbs said.

Tupa sustained a back injury during warm-ups before last week's preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He was held out of practice this week.

Asked on Wednesday if Tupa could play against the Steelers, Gibbs said: "I wouldn't think so. His back is still sore. We're just getting all of the treatment we can for him and we're hoping that he's going to bounce back from that. The soreness is still there and he's not able to take any snaps."

Tupa, a 17-year vet, has been very durable throughout his career. He has not missed a regular season game since 1993, when he played quarterback for the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts.

Tupa will be replaced by Andy Groom, a first-year player out of Ohio State. He spent last season out of football after being waived by the San Francisco 49ers following the 2004 training camp.

Last week, Groom performed well in place of Tupa, punting five times for a 44.8-yard average. He had a long of 56 yards and placed two punts inside the 20.

Royal suffered a strained shoulder during last Monday's practice and sat out the Tuesday and Wednesday sessions.

"I would think Robert would have a tough time playing on Friday," Gibbs said. "His shoulder was much better today, so that's a good sign."

Safety Ryan Clark (knee), cornerback Walt Harris (calf) and wide receiver Taylor Jacobs (toe) did not practice on Wednesday and are also expected to sit out Friday night's game. John Hall has a fever and his status is uncertain for Friday.

Bowen, Williams On Arrington's Return

Safety Matt Bowen missed most of last season and returned to action in the Carolina preseason game on Aug. 13. So he knows as well as anyone how LaVar Arrington feels heading into this weekend's game against Pittsburgh.

Arrington is returning from a knee injury that forced him out most of last season.

"I can sense that LaVar is hungry," Bowen said. "I would expect that from him because he's such a competitor. He's missed a lot of time and he's missed a lot of games, and he wants to do what he was made to do--and that's be a playmaker."

Added assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams: "We're excited about having him back on the field full-go. He has had a great week of practice. I am anxious to see him play against a good football team, because Pittsburgh is a good football team. This will be a good offense for him to get a test on."

Williams said the coaches and athletic trainers are still going to be cautious with Arrington's injury/

"Every day is a testing ground to make sure he's healthy," Williams said. "With the first live contact, it will be important to make sure there are no athletic or physical setbacks. We are just going to take it one game at a time."

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