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Secondary Tops Among Injury Concerns

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 17, 2008

Coach Jim Zorn said the Redskins are worried about the secondary ahead of Sunday's game after cornerback Shawn Springs tweaked his calf muscle late in practice yesterday. Zorn said Springs will be reevaluated today, while cornerback Fred Smoot (groin) is "doubtful" to play. Top cornerback Carlos Rogers (calf) was limited in practice again but will play, Zorn said.

Of the three, Zorn said Smoot was the biggest concern and that he wouldn't have a handle on the severity of Springs's injury until today. Springs left practice after aggravating a calf injury he has had since the Dallas game. He missed the game against Philadelphia and returned for the loss to the Rams, playing in a limited capacity.

If Smoot and Springs cannot play, the Redskins would have to rely heavily on Leigh Torrence and rookie Justin Tryon, less than ideal against a Browns team that has a solid passing attack.

Zorn said tackle Chris Samuels (ankle), tailback Clinton Portis (hip flexor) and safety Chris Horton (ankle) missed practice, but he expects all of them to play. Portis's hip remains sore, and he is unlikely to practice until the walkthrough tomorrow, but Zorn said he is certain Portis would play Sunday.

Defensive end Jason Taylor was given a day of rest with his injured calf, but "I fully expect him to play," Zorn said.

Tailback Ladell Betts is out several weeks with an injured knee and hamstring.

Tackle Stephon Heyer (shoulder) continued to practice, but Zorn said he "expects" Jon Jansen to remain the starting right tackle this week.

In general, Zorn referred to the injuries as "nagging," and though he said he is "worried" about the spate of injuries and the team is getting reinforcements ready to play, he believes most of these veterans will be able to perform well Sunday despite their absence from the practice field.

Blache Readies the Troops

Greg Blache told new safety Mike Green when the team signed him Tuesday that he would be inactive this week as he works off the rust from eight-plus months away from football. However, Blache said he "might be forced to" play Green and is giving him "a crash course" in the defense, which Green is familiar with from four previous seasons with Blache in Chicago.

The rest of the defensive players are hearing the same message about the Browns that they heard about the Rams last week: underestimate them at your own peril.

After the Browns routed the Super Bowl champion New York Giants on "Monday Night Football," the Washington Redskins' defensive coordinator had plenty of ammunition. "My one piece of advice to them was, 'Look at the film,' " Blache said.

Doughty Undecided on Surgery

Safety Reed Doughty, whose season ended when he was placed on the injured reserve list Tuesday, said he will see at least one more specialist before deciding whether to have surgery to repair a nerve problem in his back.

Doughty figures recovery from surgery could take several months and he hopes to begin rehab as soon as possible, with his contract up at the end of the year.

"I want to figure out if I'm doing it [surgery] or not, and if not, then what's the rehab. . . . We're kind of burning daylight here."

Doughty still experiences numbness in his left foot and said he believes he could have played a week or two more before the injury would have forced him out again. He has seen one specialist and said that he has yet receive specific details of what surgery would entail. He wants to make a decision this month. . . .

Betts said he is very comfortable with the signing of Shaun Alexander and does not foresee any issues in regaining his spot as the primary backup after he recovers from knee and hamstring problems. "I'm not worried about that," Betts said. "Once I come back, I'm confident in my ability."

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