CLEVELAND, AUG. 25 -- Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Cary Conklin appears to be headed for a season on injured reserve after sitting out a third straight preseason game.

Conklin almost certainly won't play in next week's preseason finale against the Los Angeles Rams. In fact, the Redskins said Jeff Rutledge's injured shoulder is the only reason Conklin hasn't already undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

Rutledge made his first appearance of the preseason tonight, and while his shoulder isn't 100 percent, he was impressive in completing five of eight passes for 78 yards.

"Cary still has some clicking in the knee," Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said. "It's not swollen, but there's still something in there. He says it's okay, but it's not all the way back."

The question for the Redskins becomes what to do with Conklin. He's 6 feet 4, 215 pounds and has a cannon of an arm. The Redskins used a fourth-round pick on him and believe he has a chance to be a starting quarterback.

It's unlikely they'll waive him. In past years, highly regarded young quarterbacks who couldn't make the team immediately -- Mark Rypien and Stan Humphries -- have come up with conveniently timed injuries at the end of camp. This time, the Redskins may have a legitimate injury.

Jacoby Plays

It had been almost 10 months since he underwent reconstructive surgery on his left knee, but early in the fourth quarter, Joe Jacoby made his first appearance of 1990. He was in on a handful of plays, again passed all the tests and says it's now only a matter of getting more work to get the knee back to 100 percent.

Johnson Gets a Start

The Redskins made one significant change in their starting lineup tonight when Jimmie Johnson replaced Terry Orr as the No. 1 H-back. Johnson has had a tremendous training camp and the Redskins see him as a potential big-time pass receiver. . . . Safety Clarence Vaughn didn't play because of a sore shoulder.

No Deal

The Redskins received permission to negotiate with Browns cornerback Frank Minnifield's agent, Stan White of Baltimore. White said Minnifield's price is $2.4 million over two years and the Redskins said no thanks. Tonight, General Manager Charley Casserly said the Minnifield deal was dead "because we couldn't reach agreement with the Browns on a trade or Minnifield on a contract."