'Full-throttle' Portis ready to return for Redskins

Updated: September 21, 2006, 4:59 PM ET
Associated Press

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis practiced again Thursday and pronounced himself ready for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans.

"They can expect a full-throttle Portis," Portis said. "It's no setbacks or limited plays for me."

However, the Redskins could be missing two defensive starters. Cornerback Shawn Springs won't play after straining a groin during practice Wednesday, and assistant coach Gregg Williams said defensive tackle Joe Salave'a was doubtful because of a strained calf muscle.

Portis missed last week's game at Dallas after re-injuring his left shoulder in the season opener against Minnesota. His return is timely, considering that coaches and players this week have spoken of the need to re-establish the run after opening the season with two losses.

"That's going to open up our offense," said Portis, who ran for a franchise-record 1,516 yards last year. "Our offense starts with the running game, first and foremost. That's going to open up the passing. Just having the opportunity to carry the team on your back, you want to do it. Hurt shoulder or not, I want to do that."

The timing of Portis' return to health has been a mini-soap opera since he partially dislocated his shoulder Aug. 13, with he and coach Joe Gibbs offering different assessments of his chances of playing in the first two regular season games. Portis said Thursday that he was exercising some gamesmanship last week by indicating he had a chance to play against Dallas when Gibbs had told him he wouldn't.

"If I tell y'all, y'all were going to tell the Cowboys," Portis said. "So there wasn't any need to give them an advantage and have them not prepare for me."

Portis has yet to wear a costume for any of his Thursday media gatherings this year, as he did for many weeks in 2005. He looked somewhat stylish Thursday in an olive green baseball cap worn backward, but there was no outrageous character.

"I forgot I had to do this press conference," he said. "When I walked in, I saw everybody lined up, it kind of shocked me, but who knows? Hopefully we won't need the characters. Hopefully, you'll see the character in this team and we'll go out and establish win after win. But you never know."

The Redskins were hoping Springs could play in a limited role Sunday in his first game since surgery for a torn abdominal muscle on Aug. 15, but he strained the groin in his right leg during individual drills Wednesday. An MRI on Thursday show no major tear.

"I know he's not going to go," Williams said. "Hopefully, he'll be ready to go next week."

Salave'a, who was injured in the Dallas game, has not practiced this week.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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