- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2006

CINCINNATI — A partial separation of Clinton Portis’ left shoulder will not necessarily keep the Washington Redskins’ franchise running back out for the rest of the preseason. But coach Joe Gibbs said, “It’s going to be a while before he’ll play.”

Portis was injured on the eighth play of the Redskins’ 19-3 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last night at Paul Brown Stadium when he tackled Keiwan Ratliff, who had intercepted Mark Brunell.

X-rays were negative but an MRI revealed a shoulder subluxation, a temporary and partial separation caused when the ball of the upper arm slips out of the socket.

“Let’s get rid of some of these preseason games,” said Portis, who was wearing a sling on his arm and laughing during the press conference. “Even the young guys don’t need four games. It’s ridiculous to play four preseason games and then 16 games and then the playoffs.”

Redskins director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said it will be a couple days before the team knows how long Portis will be out.

Portis remained disappointed.

“But even if it’s not serious, to be nicked going into Week 1, how often do you think defensive coordinators are going to blitz me?” he said.

Portis was one of three Redskins players injured in the first half. Reserve linebacker Chris Clemons sustained a Grade 3 sprain — the worst kind — of his left medial collateral ligament and will be out several weeks. Reserve running back Kerry Carter tore the anterior and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee and is out for the season.

The Redskins, already without Ladell Betts (hamstring) and Jesse Lumsden (hip flexor), relied on Nehemiah Broughton and Manuel White for the entire second half.

Portis, who rushed for a franchise-record 1,516 yards last season, wasn’t expected to play more than a series. He started the game with an 8-yard run. The Redskins’ season opener against Minnesota is four weeks from tonight.

“After I got my 8-yard run, I was like, get me out of the game,” Portis said. “But it could have happened to anybody at any time.”

Much like right tackle Jon Jansen’s season-ending Achilles tendon injury cast a pall on the preseason opener against Denver in 2004, Portis’ injury — while not as serious — overshadowed the rest of the game for the Redskins at Paul Brown Stadium, including a solid three-series stint by the Redskins’ first-team defense and two quarters of play by quarterback Jason Campbell.

The first-team defense limited the Bengals to minus-9 yards on nine snaps, recording two sacks and twice knocking Cincinnati out of field goal range.

Campbell played the entire second half and was 9-for-15 for 99 yards with one interception. Three of his drives started inside the Redskins 15-yard line.

Before Portis was injured, the Redskins moved the ball 55 yards — including a 27-yard diving catch by Brandon Lloyd — before a pressured Mark Brunell appeared to try to throw the ball away on third-and-8. Ratliff retrieved the ball, stayed in bounds and then raced down the sideline. Portis ran nearly 50 yards and plastered Ratliff. But Portis remained on the ground before walking to the sideline and then going to the locker room.

Brunell played one more series and finished 4-for-9 for 66 yards. Associate head coach Al Saunders used plenty of formations, including Mike Sellers as the slot receiver on the first play, but kept things rather simple by not calling any shifts or motions.

The Redskins’ first-team defense was anything but vanilla, though.

In three series, they allowed no first downs and knocked Cincinnati out of field goal range twice. Shawn Springs and the duo of Lemar Marshall and Marcus Washington posted sacks.

Todd Collins entered the game after Brunell and was intercepted by John Thornton on his first pass attempt and was called for a safety — intentional grounding in the end zone — on his third attempt, giving Cincinnati a 2-0 lead.

The Bengals added a touchdown on the ensuing possession when Anthony Wright, playing for the resting Carson Palmer, hit Chris Henry for a 12-yard touchdown. Shayne Graham’s 37-yard field goal made it 12-0 Bengals.

Collins was 6-for-13 for 68 yards and led a 10-play scoring drive late in the first half. He converted two third downs, leading to a 38-yard field goal by John Hall. The Redskins gained 77 yards on the 25 snaps (six series) Collins played.

After Campbell’s first possession ended in a punt, the Bengals stretched the lead to 19-3 on Doug Johnson’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Kelley Washington.

“It’s hard to find a positive,” Gibbs said. “I don’t think any of us looked particularly good. We’ve got a long ways to go. That’s bottom line.”

Campbell’s two third-quarter series started at the Redskins 7- and 13-yard lines. On third-and-12 from the 5, Campbell threw a 13-yard strike over the middle to Mike Espy for the first down. On the second series, Campbell scrambled for 5 yards on third-and-6 before the drive stalled. Espy and Jimmy Farris dropped passes in the quarter.

Campbell’s third series gained 20 yards and included a 5-yard pass to Farris on third-and-4. The Redskins lost the ball on downs at the Cincinnati 30.

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