Portis's Injury Is Sprained Knee, Not Tendinitis

By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Washington Redskins yesterday clarified Coach Joe Gibbs's comments about the knee injury suffered by running back Clinton Portis during the team's loss to the New York Giants, saying Gibbs misspoke when he described it as being a recurrence of the condition that sidelined Portis almost all of the offseason and preseason.

Gibbs on Monday said Portis had experienced another bout of tendinitis in his right knee, prompting Portis to sit out the first practice after the Redskins returned from a bye week. Portis, however, bruised and sprained his right knee (a Grade 1 injury, the least severe sprain) in the 24-17 loss Sept. 23 at FedEx Field.

Bubba Tyer, director of sports medicine, shouldered responsibility for the confusion, explaining he had not updated Gibbs about Portis's status before Gibbs met with reporters after practice.

"I didn't tell the coach. I didn't clarify it before he talked," Tyer said. "He just assumed that it was tendinitis and the same thing. It was my fault that he didn't get the correct word out."

Gibbs did not say when Portis's injury occurred, but the Redskins "knew from the first quarter he had landed on his knee," Tyer said. Portis, who declined comment at Redskins Park, said on "The John Thompson Show" that he was injured in the second quarter. He was on the sideline for Washington's last two offensive plays of the game with the team trailing 24-17 and the ball on the Giants 1-yard line.

On third down, Ladell Betts ran left and was stopped for no gain. On fourth down, Betts ran left for a two-yard loss. Gibbs has described Portis and Betts as being "interchangeable," and Portis's injury was not a factor in determining which running back was on the field for the last offensive plays, Tyer said.

"A guy comes over [to the sideline] and we're looking at an injury, we make a decision, 'Should he be in there?' That was never discussed with Clinton," Tyer said. "There was never any discussion about holding him out."

Portis leads the team in rushing with 48 carries for 227 yards -- a 4.7-yard average per carry -- and three touchdowns. Betts has only 82 yards in 30 carries -- a 2.7-yard average -- without a touchdown.

On Thompson's radio show, Portis said he received treatment all week, is wearing a sleeve on his leg to reduce swelling and expects to play Sunday. Tyer also was optimistic Portis would be able to play against Detroit.

"Our hopes are that he'll be ready to play on Sunday," Tyer said. "We think he will be."

The Lions are 29th in total defense and 17th against the run. After rushing for 191 yards in a victory over Miami and 130 in a victory at Philadelphia, the Redskins had only 82 yards on 27 carries against the Giants, including 17 yards on 10 rushes in the second half. Portis had four carries for 15 yards after halftime.

"We're definitely a running team, and he's a big part of what we do," quarterback Jason Campbell said of Portis. "You want him out there, but you want to make sure he's healthy. It's a long season."

If Portis sits out against the Lions, the Redskins would rely more on Betts, who has not yet found his rhythm after rushing for a career-high 1,154 yards last season.

"No matter who's in there, whether it's Clinton or me, we're ready whenever the coaches call our number," Betts said. "As a running back, you want to carry the ball all the time, but you know that's not going to happen. You just have to keep making the most of your opportunities."

Redskins Notes: Wide receiver Santana Moss has not tested his injured groin by running on land, but he has run in a water tank while team medical personnel evaluate him. "He's doing better," Tyer said. "He's trying to get as much rest [by not participating in drills] and we're exercising him. . . . He feels fine doing that. We're taking him day-to- day and will do more tomorrow." . . . Safety Sean Taylor (bruised knee) is expected to participate in full drills this week. . . . Cornerback Fred Smoot (hamstring) may be limited in practice, but is expected to play after sitting out the last two games.

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