Redskins’ Kelly on IR; good news on McNabb, Portis

The Washington Redskins placed Malcolm Kelly on injured reserve

Tuesday, robbing the team of a big target receiver because of an

ailing hamstring that wasn’t to heal anytime soon.

There was better news regarding Donovan McNabb and Clinton

Portis. Portis practiced for the first time since spraining his

right ankle last week against the New York Jets. McNabb was still

sidelined but was no longer wearing a compression stocking over his

sprained left ankle, and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was

optimistic that the quarterback would practice next week.

”I expect him to,” Shanahan said.

Kelly first pulled his left hamstring working out with McNabb in

Arizona the week before training camp begin. Kelly took part in the

first practice of camp, but he felt the hamstring tighten up the

next day and pulled it again a few days later. He tried to return

Monday with the hopes of playing in at least one preseason game,

but he pulled the muscle yet again and is now done for the

season.

”I like the kid,” coach Mike Shanahan said. ”But you’ve got

to be on the field.”

Kelly was a second-round draft pick out of Oklahoma in 2008, but

he caught only three passes in his rookie season because of knee

and ankle injuries. He returned to play in all 16 games last year,

catching 25 passes for 347 yards.

At 6-foot-4, Kelly was supposed to be the tall receiver to

counter 5-foot-10 Santana Moss and 5-foot-11 Joey Galloway. It now

seems probable that the Redskins will open the season with only one

receiver taller than 6 feet – 6-foot-2 Devin Thomas.

Mike Shanahan said if Kelly had been more forthright about the

injury at the start of camp, the team would have put the wideout on

the physically unable to perform list, which would have allowed

Kelly to return during the season.

”I’m disappointed we didn’t put him on the PUP list,” Shanahan

said. ”But when a guy comes in and practices the first day and he

says he’s fine to go, you can’t put him on the PUP list. That’s

another conversation I had with him.”

The sprained ankles of Portis and McNabb had temporarily

sidelined the Redskins’ starting backfield, but Portis was able to

return Tuesday after missing only two days of practice.

”I was surprised he came back as quick as he did,” Shanahan

said. ”He looked pretty good.”

McNabb’s sprain is more severe, having kept him idle for a week

and a half since he was injured in the second preseason game

against Baltimore. He watched practice Tuesday wearing a baseball

cup with a wrap on his ankle. While teammates are certain McNabb

will play in the season opener against the Dallas on Sept. 12, the

coach continues to remain cautious – at least publicly.

”How do you know?” Shanahan said. ”That’s what happens when

these guys have got these ankle sprains, you’re hoping a guy can

go, but you don’t know if there’s going to be a setback or not. I’m

keeping my fingers crossed and hoping, he’s doing everything he can

in rehab to get himself ready. When he’s ready to go, I’ll let you

guys know.”

Even if healthy, neither McNabb nor Portis would have played in

this week’s game, Thursday against Arizona, because Shanahan

prefers to rest his starters in the final preseason game.