ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — From head to toe, three things are immediately noticeable when Washington Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon takes the field.
— His mouthpiece looks like vampire fangs. Nothing special, he says. Just something the team dentist designed for him a few years back when he was with the Indianapolis Colts.
— He appears to be the only NFL player whose jersey has a cedilla, the curvy thing that dangles from the letter "c." His parents are from Haiti, accounting for his French name. He speaks Creole and understands French, although he says the French class he took in college didn't help much at all.
— He's makes the Redskins offense a lot better, even though he's playing with a toe that hurts. And hurts. And hurts. And has been hurting for some 2½ months.
"I think I'm going to make it through the whole season," Garcon said this week. "Hopefully nothing crazy happens. But I've been dealing with the pain for so long now, it's only getting numb to it or getting used to it."
When Garcon caught the first touchdown pass of Robert Griffin III's career — 88 yards in the season-opening win over the New Orleans Saints — little did anyone know that the moment would yield as much frustration as excitement. Garcon tore a ligament in the second toe on his right foot while sprinting to the end zone, and the intervening weeks have been flush with thoughts of how to play through pain, how best to avoid surgery and whether he should even try to play again this season.
"It is frustrating because it's just a toe," Garcon said. "But it plays a big part. I need my toes to push off."
Garcon returned for Weeks 4 and 5, but he clearly wasn't physically ready and served more as a decoy than anything else, catching four passes for 44 yards. It looked like more of the same when he returned for again this month against the Philadelphia Eagles, catching three passes for a tepid 5 yards.
Coach Mike Shanahan wasn't certain whether Garcon would be able to play again four days later against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving because of the possible effect of the stadium's artificial surface on his toe.
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