ASHBURN, Va. -- What a way to open training camp: Washington Redskins defensive end Phillip Daniels tore a left knee ligament Sunday during the very first practice and will miss the season.
Daniels, a starter, was hurt on the initial play of 7-on-7 offense vs. defense drills. He stayed down on the turf for several minutes before being taken away on a cart, a towel draped over his head. He's expected to have surgery Friday.
"Not a good way to start, at all," middle linebacker London Fletcher said. "It's a big blow to our defense. Phil was a tremendous leader, excellent at playing the run, and was going to be our third-down attack guy. With him going down, it's like we're replacing two guys."
The Redskins also lost another defensive end, reserve Alex Buzbee, to a season-ending injury during their afternoon practice. Buzbee ruptured his Achilles' tendon.
"With Phillip gone, and now Buzbee gone, there's a hole there," head coach Jim Zorn said. "And Phillip has created a big hole."
Day 1 of Zorn's training camp debut as an NFL head coach also included this sight: Cornerback Fred Smoot threw off his left shoe and clearly was in pain after wideout Santana Moss landed on him during the afternoon practice. It turned out Smoot sprained his ankle and is expected to only miss a week or less.
"I love sprained ankles now, because we know that's just a few days' deal," Zorn said, cracking a smile.
As you can tell by looking at NFL.com's head-to-head breakdown, Phillip Daniels was durable and productive last season, but did not put up the numbers that Pro Bowler Jason Taylor tallied in Miami. For complete details, click here.
He was more serious while speaking about the loss of Daniels, who has played 12 seasons in the NFL with Washington, Chicago and Seattle. His 59 career sacks rank 17th among active players.
"The hard part is he was so ready, and he did everything that he could possibly do to not just have a great training camp but an excellent football season," Zorn said. "And now he's got a new challenge before him, and of course we have a new challenge before us."
The Redskins began training camp with Erasmus James sidelined. He's a former first-round pick who has had serious knee injuries, and Zorn said he doesn't expect James to be able to begin practicing until next month.
The team already has been in need of a young pass-rushing end, having failed to significantly address the position in free agency or the draft.
Cerrato said defensive lineman J.T. Mapu, who was released last month, was being flown into town and would be at practice Monday.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press