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Lachey may miss at least 1 month

Before they really got a chance to celebrate their victory over Denver, the Washington Redskins got some sobering news: Offensive tackle Jim Lachey, the anchor of the line, could be out at least a month with a knee injury.

Lachey partially tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee Monday while blocking on a field goal. An MRI on Tuesday revealed the extent of the damage, and the 6-foot-6, 294-pound, three-time All-Pro will undergo further evaluations later this week to determine how long he will be out.

"It puts us in a real bind," coach Joe Gibbs said. "It depends on how bad it is and how quickly the guy heals."

The loss of Lachey _ the second serious injury to a Washington lineman in as many weeks _ leaves the Redskins contemplating a variety of roster moves.

One reason is that despite the severity of Lachey's injury, he may not have to go on injured reserve, which would mean Washington would be unable to use him for at least four weeks. Gibbs explained that since only one ligament is damaged, and because it is located on the inside of the knee, Lachey can begin rehabilitating it almost immediately.

But in reality, it is unlikely Lachey would be back sooner than four weeks from now, so a move to the injured list may make the most sense. Trainer Bubba Tyer said he doesn't expect Lachey to begin anything more than light exercise for at least two weeks.

The latest loss on the offensive line leaves the Redskins awfully thin at a position where they once were deep. All-purpose backup Mark Adickes was lost for the season with a back injury, and two rookie guards _ Paul Diever of Penn State and Darryl Moore of Texas-El Paso _ are on the physically unable to perform list.

After center Jeff Bostic tore a rotator cuff last week, Raleigh McKenzie moved from left guard to center, Joe Jacoby moved from right tackle to McKenzie's guard slot, and Ed Simmons took Jacoby's spot on the right side.

Montana update

SANTA CLARA, Calif. _ Despite an unexpected problem with the ulnar nerve in Joe Montana's right elbow that is causing numbness in his hand, the San Francisco 49ers still expect the idled quarterback to play this season.

The 49ers' doctors expect Montana to be able to throw the football by the end of this week or early next week. He has not thrown since Sept. 26 after having scar tissue removed from his elbow two weeks earlier.

"We're dealing with Joe symptom by symptom, day by day," team president Carmen Policy said. "It's sad to say, yet it's accurate to say, that we really do have to face it symptom by symptom, day by day. To a large degree, it's a guessing game."

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