By Tarik El-Bashir
When the Redskins open the preseason Thursday in Buffalo, they’ll do so missing a few key players.
At least two of the five starters along the offensive line – guard Kory Lichensteiger and tackle Jammal Brown – will be sidelined against the Bills, while guard Chris Chester is a long shot to suit up, according to Coach Mike Shanahan. Chester sprained his left ankle Monday and did not participate in Tuesday’s practice.
Shanahan also Tim Hightower, ranked atop the team’s depth chart at running back, has been ruled out, as has fullback Darrel Young. Hightower still is recovering from knee surgery, while young is nursing an ailing hamstring.
“Hopefully he keeps on making progress and will be able to play by the third game,” Shanahan said of Hightower.
Shanahan said Josh Morgan will be available to play, barring a setback. The wide receiver returned Monday from a weeklong layoff due to a hamstring.
Chris Cooley did not practice Tuesday but will play, Shanahan said.
“He’s been going to pretty hard,” Shanahan said of his tight end. “He needed a day of rest.”
Cooley joked that the day off was a privilege of being in the "30+ Club". He turned 30 last month.
A couple of more notes of interest from Shanahan’s practice news conference:
--Shanahan said the dueling kickers – Graham Gano and Neil Rackers – will alternate kicks.
“Whoever kicks off, will have the next field goal or extra point, whatever it is,” Shanahan said. “That’s the way we’ve tentatively talked about it.”
Gano will start first, the coach added.
--With Hightower sidelined, Shanahan said running backs Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr. will split time. Royster will get the start.