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Redskins rule out Portis vs. Broncos

ASHBURN, Va. -- Clinton Portis' concussion will keep the Washington Redskins running back out of Sunday's game, one of many injury concerns for coach Jim Zorn as his team prepares to face the Denver Broncos.

Portis was hurt in a helmet-to-helmet hit in the first quarter of Sunday's 31-17 loss to Atlanta. He underwent tests this week and was not at the practice facility Thursday.

"We kept Clinton at home just to get rest," Zorn said. "That was kind of doctor's orders."

Portis is having a disappointing year by his standards, with only 494 yards rushing. He last missed a game in 2006, when hand and shoulder injuries ended his season early.

Portis' injury means Ladell Betts will get his first start since 2006, assuming Betts is able to play. The backup is nursing a sprained ankle and did not practice Thursday, although Zorn said he expects him to be available.

There is also considerable doubt as to the makeup of the starting offensive line. With Mike Williams out with an ankle injury, midseason signing Levi Jones will start at left tackle and Stephon Heyer has been moved from left tackle to right tackle. Heyer was limited in practice Thursday with a knee injury, so he was replaced during the workout by D'Anthony Batiste.

Also, Chad Rinehart could get the start ahead of Will Montgomery at right guard, although that move would be performance-related and not mandated by injuries.

"That's kind of an ongoing battle," Zorn said. "Our ranks are running thin."

The starting left tackle and right guard going into the year, Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas, are out with season-ending injuries.

Also, the Redskins are dealing with a now-weekly quandary at punter. Hunter Smith, who has a recurring groin injury in his kicking leg, will try to punt during Friday's practice.

If he can't play, Sam Paulescu will punt for the second straight game and Smith will be a candidate for injured reserve.

"It's a possibility if he continues to reaggravate this thing," Zorn said. "Tomorrow is kind of an important day."