ASHBURN, Va. - Just when the Washington Redskins believe they have finally solved their longstanding quarterback woes with rookie Robert Griffin III, those assigned to protect the Heisman Trophy winner are sidelined.
Right offensive tackle Jammal Brown went on the physically unable to perform list after re-injuring his chronically ailing left hip while running sprints the day before training camp opened on July 26. While Brown won't need a repeat of the surgery that cost him the 2009 season, there's no timetable for his return.
Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger, who missed the final 11 games last year after tearing his left ACL and MCL, began camp with the starters and without a knee brace. However, Lichtensteiger had surgery on Monday to remove loose particles in the knee and is likely out until the regular-season opener Sept. 9 at New Orleans.
Griffin, the new face of the franchise, isn't worried about who's in front of him.
"If you think you have a banged-up line or a bad line, then you'll play scared," Griffin said. "The one thing I don't want those guys to think is that I don't trust them. So I definitely trust whoever's out there with me."
Filling in for the injured players are Tyler Polumbus and Maurice Hurt. Polumbus, who was cut by Denver in 2010 and by Seattle last October before signing with the Redskins (No. 25 in the AP Pro32) on Nov. 9, also filled in for Brown three of the final four games of 2011.
Hurt, a seventh-round choice in the 2011 draft , replaced Lichtensteiger for eight games last season.
"I'm glad that they feel I was capable enough to move me back over to guard," said the 6-foot-3, 329-pound Hurt, who began camp as a backup right tackle. "I was just excited for the opportunity.
"My knowledge of the offense has grown. I know what the tackle is supposed to do on every play and what the guard is supposed to do. I can understand different blocks, where before I was just trying to focus in on my position."
Hurt doesn't expect he'll unseat Lichtensteiger, a starter for 19 games until the knee injury, no matter how well he performs in practice or the four upcoming preseason games.
Polumbus knows that right tackle belongs to the 31-year-old Brown if the two- time Pro Bowl pick can prove he's healthy. However, that's such a big if that coach Mike Shanahan has questioned it.
"I approach every day the way I would if nothing had ever changed," said the 6-8, 305-pound Polumbus, who's the tallest Redskin. "My only goal is to come out every day and become a better player. Hopefully, the results on the field will show that.
"I was fortunate enough to have a head-start on the offense because I was with Shanahan back in Denver (as a rookie in 2008). I've been around here long enough to know what I'm doing. Any chance you get to get on the field is a huge opportunity, make sure there's no loss in production."
Shanahan, whose first two Washington offenses didn't come close to the explosive attacks he enjoyed during his 14 years in Denver, is unfazed this early in camp.
"I've got a lot of confidence in a number of these players that they'll step up and do what needs to be done," he said.
Left tackle Trent Williams, who was suspended for the final four games of 2011 after multiple failed drug tests, believes Hurt and Polumbus can fill the gap.
"Yeah, we got a couple injuries, but . we can't let that distract us," Williams said. "We still got to handle our business. Kory'll be back in no time. Jammal's situation still a little unknown. Mo stepped in and played a lot last year. Tyler played a lot last year. They're not drop offs at all."
Notes: The Redskins have been unable to reach DE Kentwan Balmer, who left camp yesterday and took his personal effects. Coach Mike Shanahan presumes that Balmer, who went AWOL on San Francisco in 2010, doesn't want to play football anymore. ... WR Anthony Armstrong injured the AC joint in his right shoulder late during Thursday's practice and will need X-rays. .. S D.J. Gomes is out 2-3 days with a shoulder injury. ... WR Josh Morgan (hamstring) and T James Lee (knee) are expected to return Monday. ... WR Lance Lewis is out 1-2 weeks with a groin injury. ... LB Bryan Kehl was absent to be on hand for his child's birth. ... Shanahan said he expects his starters, including rookie QB Robert Griffin III, to play 12-20 snaps in Thursday's preseason opener at Buffalo. ... Brown is supposed to begin his rehab Friday at Redskins Park.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Which big cat had some trouble coughing this up? (Photos)
Two brown bears rescued after 10 years in captivity.
Clothes have a starring role at the Cannes Film Festival. (Photos)
Doctors saved this boy's life with a medical first involving a printer.