London Fletcher misses Washington Redskins practice

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher was being evaluated by a neurologist for a possible head injury Thursday and missed practice for a second consecutive day, putting his 15-year consecutive-games streak in doubt.

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Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Fletcher was checked for about six hours by a doctor for a "balance issue." Shanahan listed the 37-year-old Fletcher as not practicing because of head and hamstring problems.

"If he's able to go, you know he's going to be able to go. But I'm sure he's a little scared, too, because any time you deal with a balance issue, it's something that's out of your control," Shanahan said. "London's a smart guy. He wants to play, but at the same time, he understands that if there's something wrong with your balance, that's a pretty tough situation to be in, and he's smart enough not to put his body into a situation that could hurt him."

Shanahan said he did not know if Fletcher has a concussion and wouldn't be able to provide more information about the player's status until Friday.

"Could he play? I can't tell you that for sure until we go out on the field and until we find out what the problem is with his balance," Shanahan said.

The team didn't know about the balance problem until Monday, according to Shanahan. Fletcher attended practice Wednesday but didn't take part, then limped off the field.

If he is out Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, backup inside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander would take Fletcher's spot and wear the headset helmet that allows contact with the sideline.

"What you lose from London is obviously the leadership role, the passion and energy that he brings to the game, much like a Ray Lewis," Alexander said. "Obviously you can't match what he brings to the game experience-wise -- there's not too many guys who have played 15 years and have called out defenses -- but am I capable of going in there and playing and getting in there and winning a game for us as well? Yes."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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