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Redskins' Portis Surprised He Won't Play

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ASHBURN, Va. (AP) _ Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs ruled Clinton Portis out for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys, an announcement that surprised Portis and created yet another twist in the running back's injury saga.

``He didn't practice today. ... If a guy doesn't practice, he's not going to play,'' Gibbs said.

Gibbs said Ladell Betts, T.J. Duckett and Rock Cartwright will be the running backs against the Cowboys. Portis was downgraded from questionable to doubtful on the injury report, with Gibbs citing the pounding Portis took in the Monday night season opener against Minnesota.

``It's really just because of soreness,'' Gibbs said. ``Actually, it's in a different spot in his shoulder. He's got some soreness there that lingered and kept him from practicing this week.''

When told what Gibbs had said, Portis didn't know the decision already had been made.

``I thought it was a game-time decision,'' he said. ``As of now, my bag's packed and ready to go to Dallas, unless they come and tap me on the shoulder in the near future and tell me I ain't going.''

Last week, it was just the opposite. Portis spent several days downplaying his chances to make the season opener, saying he was not in football shape and had yet to recover from a partially dislocated left shoulder that caused him to miss nearly all of preseason. But after the final practice, Gibbs sprung a surprise, saying Portis had tested the shoulder sufficiently and would play as a backup to Betts.

Portis carried 10 times for 39 yards in the 19-16 loss to the Vikings, but he has complained of soreness all week.

``I can't do nothing but tell you to wait until Sunday. This bag is going to Dallas,'' said Portis, pointing at the equipment bag in front of his locker. ``We have seen some miracle days happen. This ain't no situation for me not to be playing in.''

As usual, Portis wavered from serious to playful, making it difficult to discern whether he really feels he can play. At one point, he said: ``I eat gunpowder twice a day now. As long as I'm on this gunpowder, I think I'm going to be all right.''

He took a more serious tone when he expressed frustration over the week-to-week drama his injury has become.

``I'm be happy when I'm healthy,'' Portis said. ``Hopefully we can get this over with real soon and I can join my teammates and be on the field and it's not an issue,'' Portis said. ``I don't like this being an issue going into the weekend. Am I up or down? Playing or not? Whatever's best for the team.''

Portis wore pads and said he ``ran a few routes'' during Friday's practice, but apparently that wasn't enough.

``He'll probably tell me he can play on game day, but he didn't practice so we'll move him down accordingly,'' Gibbs said. ``Hopefully he's going to be back next week, that would be my hope.''
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