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Zach Brown sits out practice; Jamison Crowder says he'll play Sunday

ASHBURN, Virginia -- This isn’t what the Washington Redskins needed: their top tackler sidelined by an ankle injury. With their top interior pass-rusher, Matt Ioannidis, unlikely to play Sunday against the Vikings, the Redskins can’t afford to also have linebacker Zach Brown out.

The good news for Washington is that its offensive line continues to get healthier and at least one receiving target says he’ll return.

As for Brown, he sat out practice because of a sprained ankle. Redskins coach Jay Gruden said it stemmed from soreness and that “hopefully he will be better tomorrow.”

Brown has started at inside linebacker all season, leading the NFL with 86 tackles -- 10 more than anyone else. His speed and athleticism have proved a huge benefit. The Redskins already are down one inside linebacker with Mason Foster out for the season. If for some reason Brown can’t play, then Martrell Spaight would take his place. However, Friday will be a key day for Brown.

Meanwhile, Gruden said he does not anticipate Ioannidis playing. He broke a bone in his left hand two weeks ago and missed the Seattle game. However, Gruden said that if Ioannidis is able to somehow practice Friday he could still play Sunday.

In order to play, Ioannidis would need a cast on his hand with his fingers free.

“The important thing is, can he grab without any pain and is it safe to grab right now so close to surgery,” Gruden said. “We want to make sure it’s stable and he can do it without damaging more.”

Here’s a look at the key injury updates:

Receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring): He said he would play Sunday after missing last week. Crowder was limited in practice, but he did work in the one-on-one sessions and was confident in his availability for the Vikings game. His return to the slot would be a big help against a top defense.

Tight end Jordan Reed (hamstring): He said he wasn’t sure yet if he’d be able to play Sunday. Reed was limited in practice and said he felt good when he ran. Reed was also able to participate in one-on-ones and did not look slowed by the injury, making a touchdown grab in a red-zone drill.

If Reed can’t play, the Redskins likely would have only two tight ends available as Niles Paul missed practice because of his concussion. He was still feeling symptoms and remains in the concussion protocol. He had practiced Wednesday.

Left tackle Trent Williams (knee): He did not practice again, but that’s nothing new. Gruden said they’ll probably know Friday or Saturday if Williams can play. They’d like him to test his change of direction and see how much pain he’s able to withstand.

The good news for the Redskins is that right guard Brandon Scherff (knee), center Spencer Long (quad/knee) and guard Shawn Lauvao (stinger) were limited again Thursday. There’s reason to be optimistic about each one playing.

Tackle Ty Nsekhe (core muscle injury): He did some team drills Thursday for the first time since before his Week 3 injury. Gruden said they need to see how he handles re-directing people and dealing with the weight of others.