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With Betts Out, Former MVP Will Get Look

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Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot takes The Washington Post's Dan Steinberg on an all-access tour of his Great Falls mansion. Video by Comcast SportsNet

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By Jason La Canfora and Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Reserve running back Ladell Betts suffered a mildly sprained left knee during the Washington Redskins' 19-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, and the team will audition former league MVP Shaun Alexander as a potential replacement.

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Sources with knowledge of the situation said it appears the injury, which was confirmed by an MRI exam, will sideline Betts for about two weeks. Earlier yesterday, Zorn said the team was planning to be without Betts for at least one week.

Alexander, who won the MVP award and the rushing title while leading the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl in the 2005-06 season, will visit the Redskins today, according to team and league sources. The 31-year-old free agent has strong ties to Zorn and running backs coach Stump Mitchell from their time together in Seattle. Alexander was released by the Seahawks in April following several injuries and consecutive unproductive seasons.

Meantime, Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels has a mild knee sprain and did not have an MRI. The team hopes that, with rest this week, he will be able to play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

As for who will start opposite Samuels at right tackle against Cleveland, Zorn and the coaches could have a tough decision between Jon Jansen or Stephon Heyer once Heyer's shoulder is healthy. Heyer, who has missed the past two games, does not yet have sufficient strength in his shoulder, Zorn said.

Kelly Still in Doubt

Rookie wide receiver Malcolm Kelly's status remains in doubt as well. He has been injured essentially since the first week of camp and had his knee drained twice last week.

Zorn said the team will have to decide in the next few weeks whether to put Kelly on injured reserve, which would end his season and give the team a chance to add a wide receiver who could contribute.

"It's a risk," Zorn said, citing Kelly's "potential," but also the need for complementary receiving options. Zorn again cited the lack of productivity in Kelly and fellow rookie wide receiver Devin Thomas as problematic. . . .

Safety Reed Doughty's nerve problems in his back persist, and he is experiencing numbness in his foot. That doesn't bode well for him playing, and he didn't practice at all last week, either. . . .

Safety Chris Horton has a low ankle sprain, and Zorn said he thinks the rookie will be fine. Same with wide receiver James Thrash, who has a mild knee sprain. Cornerback Fred Smoot (groin) is also expected to be all right.

Torrence Talks

Cornerback Leigh Torrence, who was covering St. Louis wide receiver Donnie Avery on the key 43-yard pass play that set up the winning field goal, was involved in a sideline shouting match with Jim Haslett, the Rams' interim head coach.

"It was something where there were two guys on me," Torrence said yesterday. "They were saying things, and I got up and there were people who were saying things, and we got into it. I haven't seen it. I got to look at it on film to see what really happened, but it was just a lot of shouting."


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