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Clinton Portis return could come after bye week, but starting job is no sure thing

October 25, 2010 - 04:54 PM
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Mike Shanahan said there's a chance that Clinton Portis could return for the Redskins' ninth game of the season. (Photo: Associated Press)

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said that Clinton Portis possibly could return to action for the team's ninth game of the season, but whenever he comes back, he likely will have to fight to get his job back.

Portis, who in Week 4 suffered a third-degree groin pull and has been sidelined ever since, continues to make progress in his rehabilitation.

The original prognosis was that the injury would take four to six weeks to heal. This Sunday's game in Detroit would be the four-week mark, but Shanahan said Portis is "definitely" out for this week.

There's a chance that the Lions' game could be the last game that Portis misses, however.

"Hopefully with a lot of treatment over the bye week when we come back, there's a chance he could go," Shanahan said.

Whether or not Portis reclaims his job as the Redskins' starting running back remains to be seen, however. Portis in three-and-a-half games this season has 195 yards and two touchdowns on 49 carries.

His replacement, Ryan Torain, meanwhile, has 82 carries for 381 yards and three touchdowns. Torain is coming off back-to-back 100 yard rushing games -- a feat Portis hasn't accomplished since 2008. On Sunday against the Bears, who ranked fourth against the run, Torain rushed for 125 yards on 21 carries.

And so, Shanahan won’t simply hand Portis the starting job again.

"Well, I've said this all along: We're going to play the best players and who we think gives us the best chance to win," Shanahan said. "Big part of that is how someone practices, where they're at when the game comes -- it doesn't matter what the position, offense, defense, special teams. We'll evaluate during the week, and go with who we think gives us the best chance to win."

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