Portis dislocates shoulder in Redskins' loss to Bengals

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Clinton Portis didn't even want to be on the

field for the first preseason game. Now, the dependable running

back isn't sure if he can be on the field when it counts.

Clinton Portis can only watch after he was injured early in the first quarter on Sunday night.
Clinton Portis can only watch after he was injured early in the first quarter on Sunday night.
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins' revamped offense took a significant

jolt Sunday night when Portis partially dislocated his left

shoulder during a 19-3 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, leaving him

sidelined indefinitely.

"Right now, it's tough to say," coach Joe Gibbs said.

"Obviously, it's going to be a while."

Portis ran for a club-record 1,516 yards last season, when

Washington made the playoffs as a wild-card team, and was counted

on to steady an offense retooled by assistant coach Al Saunders in

the offseason.

Instead, Washington is wondering how long it will be without its

best running back -- something Portis can't comprehend.

Portis opened the game with an 8-yard carry, then blocked for

Mark Brunell's passes. When Brunell's sixth throw was intercepted

by cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, Portis ran him down and reached to

make the tackle.

His left arm was extended when he hit Ratliff, momentarily

knocking the bone part of the way out of the shoulder socket. An

MRI confirmed the injury.

"After that 8-yard run, I was like, 'Get me out of that

game,'" Portis said. "That's what I was thinking. It's football.

It can happen to anyone. It happened to me."

Standard treatment involves rest and strengthening exercises.

Portis had the left arm in a blue sling after the game, when he

lobbied for regulars to play less in the preseason.

"For whoever's watching: Let's get rid of some of these

games," Portis said. "Four games is ridiculous. Then you play a

16-game season and the playoffs behind that."

Gibbs planned to keep Portis and his other starters in the game

for only a short time.

"We wanted to have one good drive," Gibbs said. "We didn't

want him to carry the ball more than one or two times."

Without Portis, the running game will depend upon backup Ladell Betts, who ran for 338 yards last season and missed four games

because of a knee injury.

"Who knows what it is?" Portis said of his injury. "Even if

it's not serious, to be nicked up for the first week of the season


For Cincinnati, the opener was a chance to gauge what the

offense will look like if Carson Palmer isn't ready to start the

season. Palmer stood on the sideline in a white Bengals T-shirt and

gray sweat pants, watching newcomer Anthony Wright make a

lackluster debut.

The Bengals failed to get a first down on their first three

series behind Wright, a free-agent quarterback signed less than

four months ago. He was sacked twice and looked indecisive in those

three drives.

He finally got going with the help of a flea-flicker -- a trick

play seldom used in preseason -- that surprised the Redskins. T.J.

Houshmandzadeh was unguarded downfield for a 52-yard catch, setting

up Wright's 12-yard touchdown pass to Chris Henry.

"I think overall it was a good start, for the first time,"

Wright said. "There's a lot of complications to this offense."

Wright was 9-of-16 in the first half for 101 yards, more than

half of them on the one trick play. Doug Johnson went 11-of-14 for

128 yards with a touchdown and three sacks in the second half, when

both teams played their backups.

Palmer tore ligaments in his left knee during a playoff loss to

Pittsburgh in January and had reconstructive surgery. He's not

expected to play until at least the third preseason game, leaving

his status unclear.

Bengals Pro Bowl receiver Chad Johnson showed up with a new look

-- his mohawk was dyed blond -- but didn't catch a pass in limited

action. Johnson had shaved his head for games in the past.

Henry, one of six Bengals either arrested or

suspended in recent months, had six catches for 61 yards. Henry is

scheduled to go on trial on a gun charge in Florida later this


Brunell played only two series, going 4-of-9 for 66 yards with

the interception by Ratliff that was Portis' final play. Backup

Todd Collins finished the first half, going 6-of-13 for 68 yards

with an interception. Collins also was called for intentional

grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety.Game notes
Redskins second-string LB Chris Clemons sprained a ligament

in his left knee late in the first quarter. Trainers put a brace on

the knee before he was helped off without putting weight on the

leg. ... RB Kerry Carter had to be helped off the field with an

injured right knee in the second quarter. The Redskins signed

Carter as a free agent in January after he missed last season. ...

WR Mike Espy, an undrafted free agent from Mississippi who is the

son of former Agriculture Secretary Michael Espy, caught four

passes for 56 yards for Washington. ... The crowd of 64,961 was the

largest for a preseason game in Paul Brown Stadium's seven years.