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Surgery puts Arrington out 2-4 weeks

Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington is expected to miss 2-4 weeks, including Monday night's game against the Cowboys, after a sudden flare-up forced him to have surgery on his right knee.

Arrington missed practice Thursday to fly to Birmingham, Ala., to see a team doctor, who repaired torn cartilage in the knee that has been bothering the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker since the opening week victory over Tampa Bay. Arrington will be on crutches for at least a week.

"It's just one of those things that happens and you've got to take care of," coach Joe Gibbs said. "He's somebody that we think is going to play for a long time, so we want to take good care of him."

Meanwhile, quarterback Mark Brunell was a spectator again during practice because of a strained hamstring. Gibbs stopped short of declaring Patrick Ramsey the startere, but the coach said that would be his expectation "from what we know today."

Arrington said he hurt his knee when he "took a bad step" during the win over the Buccaneers. He was limited in practice last week, but he played in Sunday's loss to the Giants and made seven tackles, though he didn't dominate.

On Monday, Arrington was bent over as he slowly walked into Redskins Park, saying he was "banged up" but confident he could keep playing. On Wednesday, he seemed to be walking normally.

"LaVar's knee looked the best it has looked," Gibbs said. "Then last night, it kind of ballooned up on us."

The setbacks for Arrington and Brunell are the latest injury blows for the Redskins. Defensive end Phillip Daniels is out at least two weeks with a strained groin, and middle linebacker Mike Barrow has yet to play this season because of tendinitis in his knee. Right tackle Jon Jansen was lost for the season when he ruptured an Achilles' tendon in the first preseason game.

Arrington's likely replacement is Lemar Marshall, a third-year player who has never started and has been used mostly on special teams.

Dolphin RB may have out

MIAMI _ The Dolphins might win the right to collect $8.6-million from retired running back Ricky Williams, but lose the rights to him in the process, according to a story in today's edition of the Miami Herald.

A Miami bankruptcy attorney and a former agent both said that if Williams were to file bankruptcy he could become a free agent, and the Dolphins could end up with nothing from Williams but a small percentage of the $8.6-million the Dolphins are seeking. Miami would be unable to keep him on the team or even trade him in the future.

Miami attorney Jim Fierberg went so far as to call the strategy "brilliant."

"It's a pretty fascinating way for him to get free agency," Fierberg said. "I like that idea, but it's not without risk."

The risk is that Williams might lose all assets except one of his Florida homes. But he might lose that anyway if the Dolphins get the right to seize his assets.

Scott Helfand, a former agent who once represented Dolphins punter Reggie Roby, went so far as to suggest the idea to Bruce Tollner, one of Williams' agents.

"I talked to Bruce Wednesday night and, when I told him, he was shocked," said Helfand, who used the idea of a bankruptcy filing in 1993 to encourage the Dolphins to cut Roby. "He said he was going to call the NFL Players Association right away."

Tollner, a partner of agent Leigh Steinberg, declined to comment on the possibility of a bankruptcy filing. However, he said that his agency is "considering all the options."

The Dolphins and NFLPA attorney Richard Berthelsen also declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins and Steelers were investigating the possibility of moving their game up one day to Saturday because of the looming Hurricane Jeanne. The Steelers will fly to South Florida today, one day ahead of their typical travel schedule. Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene said no decision would be made before this morning.

BENGALS: Defensive end Elton Patterson signed a two-year contract and fullback James Lynch was waived.

COLTS: Running back Edgerrin James, sidelined two days with a strained hamstring, returned to practice and could be ready to play when the Colts host the Packers on Sunday. James, who strained his left hamstring on a late touchdown run last week against Tennessee, took part in individual and team drills before sitting out the final half-hour of practice.

If James is able to start Sunday, he most likely will split time with backups Dominic Rhodes and James Mungro. Rhodes has seen most of the work with the first offensive unit this week. Rookie running back Ran Carthon, an ex-Gator who was re-signed to the active roster on Wednesday, is also a possibility.

FALCONS: Ex-Bucs running back Warrick Dunn returned to practice and is expected to play Sunday against Arizona. Dunn sprained his left knee in last weekend's 34-17 victory over St. Louis.

JAGUARS: Defensive end Paul Spicer was placed on injured reserve following surgery on his fractured right leg. To replace him on the roster, the Jags re-signed offensive lineman Mike Compton, a 12-year pro who was cut earlier this month following surgery on an injured thumb.

TITANS: Receiver Tyrone Calico worked with the scout team, his first practice since surgery to repair torn knee cartilage Sept. 1.

"It's the first time he's had a helmet on doing this," coach Jeff Fisher said. "It was good to see. I'd say he has a chance."

A sudden flare-up forced Washington's LaVar Arrington to have knee surgery.