Redskins Notebook

Gibbs, Portis Stay Cautious With Running Back's Knee

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 5, 2007

BALTIMORE, Aug. 4 -- Coach Joe Gibbs said that a recent MRI exam of tailback Clinton Portis's right knee showed only the previously diagnosed tendinitis, and that he could have played Saturday had the Redskins been involved in a regular season game. Portis will continue to focus on strengthening and conditioning his knee this week -- there is no set timetable for his return to full practice -- but Gibbs said he feels good about Portis's progress.

"I have every confidence that had that been a game today, he would have played," Gibbs said after the scrimmage against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. "And I think he feels that way. But at the same time if there's a chance for us to get that calmed down, we're going to do that."

Portis missed much of last season with shoulder and hand injuries and could not take part in offseason drills because of tendinitis in his knee. That problem recurred last weekend and Portis has not practiced since Monday. Gibbs said he met with Portis again recently and both sides agreed on the plan of staying away from making any sharp cuts or turns and avoiding contact for now while continuing a battery of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Gibbs said that both team doctor Ray Thal and noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews read Portis's MRI exam and came to the same conclusion. Gibbs said Portis will be monitored daily, and did not entirely rule him out of participating in Saturday's preseason opener at Tennessee.

"We'd like to get that taken care of now," Gibbs said of the tendinitis.

Plenty of Action for Heyer

Rookie Stephon Heyer, who has been replacing injured Pro Bowler Chris Samuels at tackle, received his first real test in the scrimmage. Heyer, whom many expect will not be in this same position when preseason games begin and quarterback Jason Campbell is open to punishment (the passer cannot be hit in scrimmages), was undrafted out of Maryland, but drew interest from scouts before suffering a serious knee injury in 2005.

Heyer was in heavy rotation today, working with the first and second teams and getting several reps in one-on-one drills.

Doubly Painful

Several young players on Washington's roster missed the scrimmage with injuries, which won't help their chances of making the team. Wide receiver Mike Espy (knee), linebacker Dallas Sartz (hamstring), tight end Tyler Ecker (groin), wide receiver Carl Berman (hamstring) and fullback Pete Schmitt (shoulder) sat out. . . . The Ravens "won" the 11-on-11 portion of the scrimmage, 10-7. . . . An announced crowd of 25,332 attended the scrimmage. The Redskins will host Baltimore in a preseason game Aug. 25.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company