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Noble Expected to Play Saturday

Defensive tackle Brandon Noble is expected to see his first game action in a year during Saturday night's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.

"I'll be pretty anxious," he said. "Once I get out there, I'll feel relieved. It'll be a relief to just go out in full gear and play."

Signed as a free agent before the start of the 2004 season to anchor Washington's defensive line, Noble has yet to appear in a regular-season game for the Redskins. The five-year veteran suffered a severe knee injury in a Week 2 preseason game against New England last August.

Noble will also be playing with a protective cast on his right hand. He broke this third metacarpal during a practice two weeks ago. He sat out last Monday's preseason game against Denver, but he participated in several practices in preparation for the Carolina game.

Meantime, punter Tom Tupa could miss Saturday night's game due to a back injury, head coach Joe Gibbs said.

Tupa, 38, suffered the injury on Thursday.

"I don't know if he'll get in the game--we'll see before the game how he feels," Gibbs said.

Kevin Stemke will serve as the primary punter during Saturday's game if Tupa is unable to play.

Players expected to miss the game due to injury include linebacker Mike Barrow (tendonitis in left knee), cornerback Rashad Bauman (hamstring injury), defensive lineman Phillip Daniels (abdominal injury), wide receiver Cliff Russell (hamstring), running back Ladell Betts (hamstring) and center Ben Nowland (sprained knee).

Offensive lineman Brandon Winey, who has missed most of training camp with a sprained ankle, has been deemed healthy, but he will sit out Saturday's game since he wasn't been able to practice last week.

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