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Clemons's Injury May Cost Him Roster Spot

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Washington Redskins reserve linebacker Chris Clemons said doctors told him he could miss four to six weeks with his sprained left knee, suffered in Sunday's 19-3 preseason loss at Cincinnati, while reserve running back Kerry Carter will undergo season-ending knee surgery. Starting cornerback Shawn Springs was able to play normally Sunday, but saw a specialist yesterday because of recurring pelvic discomfort, with the results of tests expected today.

Clemons, who was a regular on third downs last season, suffered a similar injury on his right knee late in 2005, and will be on crutches for several weeks, although surgery is not believed to be necessary. Still, his place on the final roster could be in jeopardy.

"Right now, unfortunately, I'm hurt and there's a lot of people that are going to be able to move up in front of me," Clemons said.

Carter, a journeyman who was having an impressive camp, will have surgery when the swelling in his damaged right knee subsides. He tore his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, an injury that could be career-threatening. "He looked very promising," Coach Joe Gibbs said.

Gibbs said he is "hopeful" that running backs Ladell Betts (hamstring) and Jesse Lumsden (hip flexor) can practice this week, but that is not certain. Offensive lineman Kili Lefotu, who collapsed last week for unexplained reasons, worked out this weekend, Gibbs said, and is expected to increase his activity this week.

Defensive lineman Nic Clemons (knee) and defensive back Ade Jimoh (sternum), also missed the game. Overall, it was a trying weekend for the team.

"You'd love to be able to come out of there healthier than we did," Gibbs said.

Barely Passing

The first exhibition game is generally a time for adapting to new wrinkles and easing into the season, and that certainly looked the case for the Redskins quarterbacks Sunday night. Each of the three threw an interception and only second-year passer Jason Campbell moved the ball, but that was against the Bengals' weakest defenders and his final pass was his worst (it was picked off).

"What really disappointed us is our turnovers," Gibbs said.

Overall, Mark Brunell, Todd Collins and Campbell combined to complete just 19 of 37 passes (51 percent) for 233 yards, with a combined 37.3 passer rating. Only Campbell made a significant gain -- hitting undrafted rookie tight end Buck Ortega for a 44-yard completion over the middle.

"Jason did some good things when he came in," Gibbs said.

Collins, who spent the past five years in Al Saunders's offense in Kansas City, was the worst of the bunch. His first pass, an attempt to throw the ball away, was picked off near the line of scrimmage, he cost the team a safety with an intentional grounding in the end zone on the next drive, and he recovered his own fumble for a two-yard loss on the next drive. Collins looked nervous in his Redskins debut, going 6 for 13 for 68 yards and a 30.3 rating. Gibbs attributed part of the problem to suspect pass protection.

"We got off to kind of a rough start," he said.

Legging It Out

Gibbs said he was pleased with the work of punter Derrick Frost, who had a 39-yard net on three punts Sunday. Frost also looked good in the scrimmage against Baltimore. . . . With so many running backs injured, Gibbs said second-year pro Manuel White, a former H-back who missed all of last season after surgery, could get more carries as a fullback. . . . Undrafted rookie receiver Mike Espy led the team with four catches for 56 yards Sunday, and Gibbs praised him yesterday. "I like Mike," he said.

Special correspondent Rich Campbell contributed to this report.

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