- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Top cover cornerback Shawn Springs became the second Washington Redskins’ starter in two days to be ruled out for the preseason after surgery yesterday afternoon in Durham, N.C., to repair an abdominal muscle tear.

He will be out three to six weeks, meaning both he and running back Clinton Portis could miss the opener against Minnesota. Portis, who partially dislocated his left shoulder making a tackle at Cincinnati on Sunday, will start full-scale rehabilitation next week but said, “I’m not going to rush back.”

Springs had not missed a training camp practice and started Sunday night at Cincinnati. But he and director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer traveled to Durham for an examination by Dr. William Meyers. Meyers laid out several options, and Springs opted for surgery.

Springs was limited late last season because of a groin injury, and coach Joe Gibbs wouldn’t rule out a connection. The surgery is similar to the one kicker John Hall had last winter and entails reconnecting a ligament to the pubic bone.

“We weren’t expecting anything to be repaired,” Gibbs said. “Shawn had complained about his groin area some, but it wasn’t bad enough to keep him out.”

Cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray expects Springs to be ready for the Minnesota game.

“For him to get this done, it will only help him out,” Gray said.

If Springs can’t play in the opener, there’s a good chance cornerback Mike Rumph, acquired from the San Francisco 49ers for receiver Taylor Jacobs on Monday, will get the call opposite Carlos Rogers.

Rumph, a first-round pick by the 49ers in 2002, practiced in San Francisco on Monday morning before being called to the team’s offices in the afternoon. Yesterday, he was not allowed to practice because Jacobs had not taken his physical in San Francisco.

The Rumph-Jacobs trade — even more important following Springs’ surgery — was completed as the Redskins were coming off the field, and Rumph will work today.

Rumph started 13 games in 2003 but has missed a combined 25 games the last two seasons because off a fractured forearm and a torn plantar fascia in his right foot.

“The best feeling about this is I get to start over new and with a great team,” he said. “They’re low on corners, so I’m glad to contribute anyway I can.”

The Redskins also worked out former Kansas City cornerback Julian Battle after practice.

Rumph spent part of practice chatting with Portis, who returned from Birmingham, Ala., late Monday after Dr. James Andrews found no further damage in his left shoulder. Even though he said he wouldn’t rush back, he reaffirmed his goal of facing the Vikings.

“We’re going to try and get it well and shoot for the first game, and hopefully everything will be fine by then,” Portis said. “After I lay around and it gets stiff and locks up, it hurts. But when I’m active during the day, I’m OK.

“I’m going to give it a week before I start exerting.”

Because of right shoulder surgery when he was in college, Portis knows overdoing it won’t quicken his return.

“I know what to expect,” he said. “I know how not to get hit and how not to fall. But I’m not going to be on the field playing timid. If it happens again, that’s a chance I have to take. I won’t change my style of play and be afraid because somebody is going to punish me. I have to play the same way I’ve been playing.”

Portis will change one thing in the future, though. If he has to make a tackle during a preseason game, he won’t.

“If I’m in that spot again, I’m going to watch him run down the sideline,” he said.

In Portis’ place, running back Ladell Betts — who did not play at Cincinnati because of a hamstring injury, and Rock Cartwright will get the bulk of the action. Rookie Jesse Lumsden also will get a lot of work starting Saturday night against the New York Jets.

“With [Betts and Cartwright] and the way things are set up, we can definitely have success with them,” running backs coach Earnest Byner said. “Ladell looks at himself as a first-rate running back that can start in this league, and Rock is hungry for an opportunity.”

But when Portis does return, it’s unlikely he will stay 100 percent for long. And Byner said discussions already are under way to create ways to limit Portis’ punishment.

“That’s one of the aspects we have to consider,” Byner said. “We have to look at the other guys stepping in even more so and possibly taking some of the pounding off him.”

At least nobody was seriously injured during the final workout of training camp open to the public. Through two weeks, 28 (only five starters) of 92 players have missed practice time because of injury.

“We just have to keep on working,” middle linebacker Lemar Marshall said. “The next man has to step up. That’s the nature of this game.”

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