Portis' knee doesn't improve, unlikely to play Sunday

ASHBURN, Va. -- Clinton Portis' sprained knee showed no improvement Thursday, and the Washington Redskins running back appears unlikely to play in Sunday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys.

The NFL's second-leading rusher left Redskins Park during practice, wearing a gray hooded sweat shirt and burgundy sweat pants as he stepped into his Maserati.

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"I was hoping today that there would be a little more optimism, and there's not," coach Jim Zorn said. "He's still questionable. I would say there's no change today. I was looking for another jump, but there wasn't."

Portis sprained his left knee in the 23-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers before last week's bye.

With Portis ailing, Ladell Betts appears set to start Sunday. Betts has missed the last three games with a sprained knee, but he was on the field in steady rain for Thursday's practice.

"Betts looked good," Zorn said. "He's got a brace on, but made some cuts. That was encouraging."

Shaun Alexander would start if both Portis and Betts are unable to play.

Zorn also said he doesn't expect defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery (Achilles) to play, and was pessimistic about Marcus Washington (shoulder). He also said he expects Shawn Springs (calf) to be available, but Springs did not practice and said he doesn't expect to practice again Friday. If Springs doesn't play, new signing DeAngelo Hall would have a greater role in his Redskins debut.

Devin Thomas missed practice with an illness. Fellow rookie receiver Malcolm Kelly, who has been battling knee problems all season, practiced but probably won't play Sunday.

"I don't believe I'm going to activate him," Zorn said. "He's so far behind. I'm just glad he's out there."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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