Betts's Status for Cowboys Game Is 'Up in the Air'
Coach Jim Zorn said he was hoping for a better report on Clinton Portis today, but the tailback was unable to do much more than get more treatment for his sprained left knee.
"I was hoping today there would be a little more optimism, but there's not," Zorn said.
Backup RB Ladell Betts, who has missed the past three games, performed well in practice with a brace on his injured knee. "He made some cuts," said Zorn, who is hopeful that Betts would be able to start against the Cowboys if Portis cannot play.
CB Shawn Springs (calf) is expected to play, but LB Marcus Washington (shoulder) and DT Anthony Montgomery (Achilles' tendon) are considered unlikely.
Although WR Devin Thomas missed practice because of a stomach ailment, he should be able to play Sunday, Zorn said.
· BLACHE WELCOMES HALL: Defensive coordinator Greg Blache said he had no trepidation about the team's acquisition of DeAngelo Hall last week, and said "we're very comfortable" with Hall playing as the third cornerback on Sunday.
Blache praised Hall's cover skills, instincts, football I.Q. and willingness to gamble to make a play. "He knows our verbiage," Blache said.
Zorn said that Hall, acquired last weekend, will participate on some special teams units and play an undetermined amount of snaps on defense.
· OPTIMISM ON KELLY: Rookie WR Malcolm Kelly is progressing well in practice, Zorn said, and has had no setbacks with his knee. Zorn said he does not expect to activate Kelly this week because he is "so far behind" but that he is encouraged.
"I'm just glad he's out there and feeling no pain," Zorn said.
Kelly was also optimistic about his progress, saying the knee "didn't bother me at all" in practice despite slippery conditions. "I wanted to make sure I didn't slip and fall, but there were no problems. Everything felt great."
The Redskins remain hopeful Kelly will get into a game soon after this weekend and will not have to go on the injured reserve list, which would end his season.
· FILLING IN: With last week's decision to waive CB Leigh Torrence, assistant coach Danny Smith has told special teams players that two rookies, CB Justin Tryon and Thomas, are likely going to assume more duties.
Players said they expect Tryon to be active this week to fill the role of gunner -- the first man down the field on punts -- at least part of the time. Thomas, while struggling to make an impact on offense after being a second-round pick, has embraced special teams, earning notice for his hitting.
-- Jason La Canfora