- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn said he hasn’t ruled out resting Clinton Portis on Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens.

Portis, who led the NFL in rushing before being held to 22 yards on 11 carries in Sunday’s 23-7 loss to the New York Giants, added a jammed neck to the oblique muscle he pulled the week before at Seattle and the left knee he sprained Nov. 3 against Pittsburgh.

Asked Monday whether Portis would be able to survive Washington’s final four games, Zorn said, “We want him to do more than just survive. Either we have to rest him … Clinton has a real stiff neck. We gotta try to get him out there … and go, I’m hoping.”

While Portis came up huge with 143 yards on 29 carries at Seattle, the Ravens’ third-ranked run defense is much more akin to that of the Giants (fifth) than that of the Seahawks (22nd). Ladell Betts, who filled in admirably when Portis missed the second half of 2006, will start if Portis can’t go.

If the slumping Redskins (7-5) can afford one more loss and still make the playoffs, it’s this one. Two of their final three games are more critical NFC contests; the other is against 1-10-1 Cincinnati.

More injury updates

Shawn Springs could be sidelined yet again after injuring his left calf for the third time in 10 weeks. The veteran cornerback first strained the calf Sept. 28 at Dallas. He returned two weeks later against St. Louis and then hurt it more seriously in practice Oct. 18, sidelining him for a month.

“[The calf is] keeping him from being able to burst,” Zorn said. “It doesn’t have the strength and stamina that he needs, and we need for him to be out there.”

The Redskins signed DeAngelo Hall last month, a move that allowed them to play Springs in spots rather than full time since he returned. Carlos Rogers and Fred Smoot have been the starters.

Defensive end Andre Carter played in passing situations against New York without worsening the plantar fascia injury he suffered at Seattle. Linebacker London Fletcher, who like Carter didn’t practice at all last week but still played against the Giants, wasn’t as fortunate; his sprained left foot was back in a walking boot Monday. He said he expects to be a game-time decision again.

“There’s not as much pain, but there’s a significant amount of swelling,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting the swelling out. Hopefully some of the pain will continue to subside as I get further away from the initial injury.”

Marcus Washington’s high ankle sprain is improving, but the linebacker likely will miss a third straight game. Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin came through Sunday’s game without additional damage to his ailing shoulder, but offensive tackle Chris Samuels’ ailing knee worsened.

Zorn said Kedric Golston, who missed the Giants game with bone spurs in his ankle, could face the Ravens depending on the defensive tackle’s pain tolerance. Quarterback Jason Campbell nearly had a fingernail knocked off his throwing hand, Zorn said.

Suisham’s slump

Shaun Suisham was promoted from the practice squad two years ago Tuesday, but the kicker won’t be celebrating the anniversary. Suisham’s 42-yard attempt sailed wide right just before halftime against the Giants, making him 0-for-3 beyond 26 yards in the past 10 quarters. Unlike a miss at Seattle, Sunday’s attempt wasn’t tipped.

“The snap was good, the hold was excellent and the kick was poor,” said Zorn, who added he has no plans to audition possible replacements.

Suisham is 21-for-29 this year. His 72.4 percent conversion rate is the lowest of any kicker with more than 10 attempts and well shy of his previous 84.1 mark in the past two seasons with the Redskins. Suisham said he doesn’t have a tired leg nor is he trying too hard.

“I just missed the kick,” he said.

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