By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Coach Jim Zorn said he was encouraged by how well Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels got through practice yesterday and expects him to start Monday against Pittsburgh despite his knee ailment, while star wide receiver Santana Moss sat out practice with a mild hamstring strain but is expected to play as well.
Zorn said he does not expect the problem to be "enough to hold out" Moss, whom he referred to as an indispensable cog in this offense right now.
Running back Clinton Portis, the league's leading rusher and the NFC offensive player of the month for October, again rested his sore hip and ankle, but he is slated to carry a heavy load again Monday.
The Redskins also rested safety LaRon Landry (hamstring) and cornerback Carlos Rogers (foot), but both have been playing regularly and are slated to start against the Steelers. Starting guard Pete Kendall rested his arthritic knees -- as has been the case every Wednesday -- though he continues to play every week.
Kick returner Rock Cartwright sat out with a minor knee strain, but he too is slated to play.
The Redskins know they will be without several players who missed practice: cornerback Shawn Springs (calf), defensive end Jason Taylor (calf), tailback Ladell Betts (knee) and wide receiver Malcolm Kelly (knee).Betts Hopes to Return After Bye
Betts continues rehab on his knee, aiming to come back after the bye week, but has yet been able to do much beyond a little weight training.
Betts sprained his knee in a loss to the Rams on Oct. 12, with MRI exams revealing he would be out about a month. He hopes to begin jogging next week while his teammates are away for the bye. Betts has yet to be informed by the training staff if that is a feasible timetable, but he said his knee feels much better this week and is responding well to treatment.
Betts said he hopes to be able to begin practicing at least on a limited basis coming out of the bye, with a comeback sometime soon thereafter.
"That's my desire, as long as my knee cooperated with my mind," Betts said. "We'll see where it goes."
The Redskins signed free agent Shaun Alexander to fill in for Betts and have continued to rank among the league leaders in rushing attempts. Betts has run 38 times for 156 yards this season, an average of 4.1 yards per carry.Special Teams Honor
Moss was named special teams player of the week in the NFC for his performance in Sunday's 25-17 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Moss returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown -- his only punt return in the game and second this season -- in the fourth quarter to help the Redskins take a double-digit lead. Moss also had a 50-yard touchdown catch among nine receptions totaling 140 yards.
"Santana proves to be an amazing athlete," Zorn said in a statement released by the NFL. "He had one opportunity and not only scored, but made the key play for the win, and then was honored as the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. This is an honor that capped off a great week."