- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Apparently there was more to Clinton Portis not being on the field for the climatic plays in the Washington Redskins‘ last game than simply the coaches choosing to use Ladell Betts at the goal line.

Portis, who missed the entire preseason with tendinitis in his right knee, wasn’t in pads yesterday because of the knee as the Redskins returned to practice after a six-day break.

“His knee is still a little agitated, and we’ll see how it goes this week,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “It was just a soreness that came out of [the Sept. 23 loss to the New York Giants].”

Portis wasn’t available for comment.

Griffin not worried

Cornelius Griffin, who has yet to make it through a season in Washington without missing a game because of an injury, said the small meniscus tear in his right knee is no big deal.

“It happened in Philadelphia, but I played with it the next week against the Giants,” said Griffin, who missed six games the past three years because of ailing hips. “I feel good. I’m not worried.”

In any event, Griffin isn’t off to the explosive start he expected after saying he was feeling as good this summer as he had since 2004, when he led the league with 15 tackles for losses and tied for the team lead with six sacks. He has only a half of a sack this season.

“I’m not seeing it either,” Griffin said of his 2004 form. “But I’m trying to play more disciplined now. I played more reckless then.”

In 2004, Griffin’s debut season in Washington, he lined up next to fellow veteran defensive tackles Joe Salave’a or Brandon Noble and could take more chances as a result. The last two years, he has played alongside Kedric Golston or Anthony Montgomery.

The only other defensive tackles on the roster are Ryan Boschetti, who has played in two games the past two years, and Lorenzo Alexander, who has yet to play a down. Tackle Jimmy Kennedy, a first-round bust for St. Louis, worked out for the Redskins last week.

Defense nearly healed

Cornerback Fred Smoot (hamstring) and safety Vernon Fox (groin), who missed the past two games, were on the field and expect to play Sunday against Detroit.

“I stayed here most of the bye week rehabbing, and I feel a whole lot better,” said Fox, who was hurt in the opening victory over Miami. “I ran on it well. They let me go on Thursday, which was a good sign that I was doing better.”

Smoot and fellow corners Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers all figure to be on the field for almost every defensive snap against the Lions, who play as many three-receiver sets as any team.

Montgomery (hand), linebacker Rocky McIntosh (shoulder), safety LaRon Landry (hand) and defensive end Phillip Daniels (back) were all hurt against the Giants but practiced yesterday. Safety Sean Taylor, a fifth starter, was shaken up against New York and wasn’t on the postgame report. However, Taylor seemed to be favoring his left hamstring during yesterday’s practice.

Four starters Smoot, Daniels, right tackle Jon Jansen and right guard Randy Thomas already have missed games with injuries, and now the Redskins face a stretch of 13 straight games.

“That is a concern because it is still early in the year,” said middle linebacker London Fletcher, who has never missed a game during his 10 seasons. “Guys will just have to suck it up come Sunday. And I’m sure that as the season goes on, Coach Gibbs will address his practice schedule based on the health of his team.”

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