- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 9, 2006

Washington Redskins starting running back Clinton Portis yesterday all but ruled himself out of Monday’s season opener against the Minnesota Vikings.

“The way things look, bro, you’ll probably be seeing [No.] 2-6 against Dallas [on Sept. 17],” said Portis, who has been sidelined since partially dislocating his left shoulder on Aug. 13. “But who knows? If not, I should be ready for Houston [on Sept. 24].”

On a day when the Redskins didn’t have a full-contact practice, Portis worked in helmet and pads and “tried to show [coach Joe Gibbs] that I still had it, but I don’t think he fell for it.”

Gibbs wasn’t available yesterday, but he has said that while the decision on when to return is up to Portis, he wants him to make it through a full practice before playing.

“I don’t make the calls around here,” Portis said. “They want me to make the best decision for myself and not go out and get re-injured and have it linger through the rest of the season.”

Director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said that Portis “did everything they asked him to do. He did well. When you talk about a player coming back and playing, we have to have clearance from our physicians and ultimately the coach wants the player to tell us.”

Portis performed such drills as running the ropes yesterday, but has yet to receive contact on the shoulder since he was hurt.

“Basic stuff, not pushing it,” Portis said. “I tried to hit the [blocking] bag, but it was wet, so it didn’t make me look too good.”

On Thursday, Portis said his shoulder was 75 percent healed. He upgraded that figure to 83 percent yesterday. But that’s not good enough.

“They want me to be 100 percent fully competent,” Portis said. “They want to see me bench 285 [pounds]. I told them I’ve never benched 285 in my life. … I’m actually ahead of schedule. Initially everybody was shooting for Week 3 or 4.”

The Redskins never gave the media a timetable on how long they expected Portis to be sidelined. He missed just four games during the previous four seasons, three in 2003 with Denver and Washington’s 2004 finale against Minnesota.

“I can’t let this hamper the rest of my season,” Portis said. “If I look at the big picture, I’ve still got 15, 14 games left after this one. If we didn’t have guys capable of carrying the load, then there might be a rush, but Ladell [Betts, who would start in his place], Rock [Cartwright] and T.J. [Duckett] are capable guys.”

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