Taylor holds out hope he can play in season-opener

ASHBURN, Va. -- Jason Taylor sported a big black brace on his right knee and the type of attitude he hopes will keep his consecutive games streak alive.

2007 Statistics:
Tackles: 56

Sacks: 11

INTs: 1 (returned for TD)

"I have been a quick healer in the past," the Washington Redskins defensive end said Monday. "People think I'm old. I'm not that old yet, so hopefully those healing cells are still in there."

Taylor sprained his knee in the second quarter of Saturday night's 47-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The Redskins estimate he'll be sidelined 10 to 14 days, which gives him a shot at returning for the Thursday night NFL opener Sept. 4 against the New York Giants.

"I have every reason to believe he's going to be there, so my cup's half-full," coach Jim Zorn said. "But it's only half-full, because there's a chance he could miss the first one."

Taylor hasn't missed a game since 1999. His streak of 130 consecutive regular-season starts ranks seventh among active players. He has played with various injuries, including a broken arm.

"To be able to play through those things and show up on Sunday is something I take pride in," Taylor said. "But some things are out of your control, too."

Taylor's injury isn't pleasant viewing when reviewed in slow motion -- his leg bent awkwardly in a pile at the end of a running play -- and he realized it could have been much worse. The Giants lost their star defensive end, Osi Umenyiora, to a season-ending knee injury Saturday night on a play that didn't look as scary as Taylor's.

"You hope it's not the big one," Taylor said.

The prime-time season opener is already a big game, and for Taylor it was to mark his debut for his new team. Taylor, who turns 34 next week, was acquired on the first day of training camp in a trade with the Miami Dolphins.

"It's live games," Taylor said, "and I'm not one for missing games."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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