- The Washington Times - Monday, November 13, 2006

PHILADELPHIA — Clinton Portis missed just four games in his first four NFL seasons. The Washington Redskins’ franchise running back likely will miss at least that many this season.

Portis fractured a bone in his right ring finger when he was tackled by Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins late in the first quarter of a 27-3 loss yesterday at Lincoln Financial Field. Bubba Tyer, the Redskins’ director of sports medicine, said Portis could miss the next four games.

“He’s got to be able to use his hand and be secure with what he does with the football,” Tyer said.

Portis will have two pins surgically inserted into the finger, perhaps today. He missed three weeks because of a partially dislocated left shoulder suffered in the preseason opener and did not play in a Week 2 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He also spent part of last month’s bye week with a sprained left ankle encased in a walking boot.

Ladell Betts will fill in for Portis. Betts has started just five games in his five seasons, including the first two this season. He gained 83 yards on 20 carries yesterday and caught four passes to raise his career-best reception total to 30.

“I’m so used to Clinton getting banged up and coming off the field and then going back in that I kept looking over to the sideline,” Betts said. “When [my first] series was over, I didn’t see him, and they told me they had taken Clinton to the locker room.”

Associate head coach-offense Al Saunders praised Betts’ consistency and said third-stringer T.J. Duckett, who yesterday got carries for the first time since Week 2, will get playing time, too. Duckett carried twice for 16 yards against the Eagles.

The Redskins rushed 31 times for 146 yards, both the third-highest totals in nine games. Their 4.7-yards a carry average was two-tenths better than their season average.

“We’ve got a lot of good backs,” offensive tackle Jon Jansen said. “Ladell is a very quality back, and we saw today that 36 [Duckett] can do a couple of things, too.”

Unhappy return

Redskins safety Troy Vincent started for the Eagles from 1996 to 2003, helping them reach the NFC Championship game during the last three of those seasons. But Vincent, who still lives in suburban Philadelphia, didn’t have the homecoming he envisioned.

“Ugly,” was how he described his first game back in Philadelphia.

“The thing that stands out the most was some of the missed tackles, and we’ve got to keep the deep ball off us,” said Vincent, who, along with safety Sean Taylor and linebacker Lemar Marshall, failed to catch Donte Stallworth on an 84-yard bomb that made the score 10-0 in the first quarter. That touchdown proved the winning score.

“That was tough to come back from,” Vincent said.

Still, Vincent managed to have some fun renewing acquaintances.

“It didn’t feel like I was the opponent,” Vincent said. “It was nice playing against guys you played with for so many years.”

Penalty woes resurface

Right guard Randy Thomas drew his first penalty since the 2004 season, but his 5-yard false start call wasn’t as costly as Sean Taylor’s two personal foul penalties.

The Redskins, who drew only five penalties last week against the Cowboys, returned to their old ways against the Eagles, committing eight infractions for 70 yards.

Taylor (late hit, face mask) and left guard Derrick Dockery (false start, holding) led the way with two apiece. Quarterback Mark Brunell drew a 10-yard intentional grounding flag in the first half that took the Redskins out of field goal range.

The Redskins have 68 penalties this season.

“That was discouraging for me. I can definitely speak to that,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “We spent a lot of time during the [bye week] focusing on penalties, and there was a difference against Dallas. But it definitely jumped up and bit us today. If this continues, we’ll have a hard time winning games. It’s something we can definitely fix and our guys can fix. Why we have a good week and then drop back, I don’t have an answer for that.”

On the sideline

The Redskins reported just one injury other than the one to Portis: Defensive end Phillip Daniels bruised a forearm.

With all 22 starters healthy for the first time this season, the Redskins didn’t have to scratch any players because of injuries.

Receiver David Patten recovered from the strained left hamstring that kept him sidelined last week but was declared inactive. Offensive linemen Jim Molinaro and Taylor Whitley also were inactives, as were defensive linemen Ryan Boschetti and Anthony Montgomery, cornerback Mike Rumph and safety Reed Doughty.

Jason Campbell was the third quarterback, as he has been throughout his 25-game NFL career.

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