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NFL roundup: Portis unlikely to play against Cowboys

Associated Press
ASHBURN, Va. ó Clinton Portis’ sprained knee showed no improvement Thursday, and the Washington 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.
“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.”
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. 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). The coach said he expects Shawn Springs (calf) to be available, but Springs did not practice and said he doesn’t expect to practice again today. If Springs doesn’t play, new signing DeAngelo Hall would have a greater role in his Redskins debut.
COWBOYS
IRVING, Texas ó Jerry Jones “absolutely” believes the Dallas Cowboys will make the playoffs, would welcome Adam “Pacman” Jones back to the team if he’s reinstated and isn’t considering a coaching change.
The Cowboys owner, in an impromptu gathering with reporters, said he expects his struggling Cowboys to recover. They have gone from Super Bowl favorites to a 5-4 team tied for third place in the NFC East after losing four of their past six games.
“That’s not optimism,” Jones said. “I just see that we were going to have to be a team that (was) playing well and won a lot of games at the end of the year to be what we want to be anyway.”
Cornerback Adam Jones was suspended indefinitely last month for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would determine the length of the suspension after four games, which would be after Sunday’s game in Washington.PANTHERS
CHARLOTTE ó Center Ryan Kalil (ankle) missed practice again, making it likely Geoff Hangartner will start against Detroit on Sunday.
TITANS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Tennessee running back Chris Johnson says he’s on the fantasy team of Lil Wayne, apparently explaining why the rapper wore the player’s uniform number Wednesday night at the 42nd annual Country Music Association awards show.
Lil Wayne wore the No. 28 during a live performance on stage with Kid Rock.
Johnson said after practice Thursday, “It was real cool because he’s like my favorite artist.”
The rookie out of East Carolina said he did not see the show but heard about it from others.
Johnson said he and the rapper “text from time to time” because Lil Wayne has him on his fantasy team.RAMS
ST. LOUIS ó Steven Jackson’s optimism after a full day of practice faded Thursday when the St. Louis Rams running back woke up and his thigh was stiff and sore.
After Jackson watched practice in sweats, coach Jim Haslett figured the Rams would be without their feature back for the third time in four weeks.
If Jackson can’t go, Antonio Pittman would get his fourth straight start Sunday at San Francisco.
49ERS
SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó Frank Gore thought he had a concussion. The San Francisco 49ers say their star running back is just confused.
Gore missed his second straight practice Thursday. Although he still expects to play against the St. Louis Rams this weekend, he hasn’t recovered from a strained neck suffered in Monday night’s loss to Arizona.
Gore had a headache for the next two days and wondered aloud whether he had incurred a concussion.
Coach Mike Singletary and the San Francisco medical staff disagreed with Gore’s homegrown diagnosis, and Gore acknowledged late Thursday that the team doctors probably were correct. He plans to practice today.
PATRIOTS
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. ó Former Patriots receiver Troy Brown was honored at halftime of New England’s game against the New York Jets.
Brown spent all 15 of his seasons with the Patriots. He is the team’s all-time leading receiver with 557 catches.
RAIDERS
OAKLAND, Calif. ó Wide receiver Javon Walker is scheduled to undergo ankle surgery and will likely miss the remainder of the season.
VICKSALT LAKE CITY ó Georgia, Handsome Dan, Curly and other pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation are getting a shot at fame as stars of a line of boutique red wines.
The Vicktory Dogs Wine Collection features colorful portraits of 22 dogs confiscated from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels that now live at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah.
“As a signature collection, it’s through the roof,” said Matt Hahn, co-owner of Carivintas Winery, a Southern California company that combines wine selling and philanthropy.
Each bottle includes a portrait of one of the dogs on the label. On the back, instead of a description of the wine, there’s a brief story about each four-legged friend.
The pit bulls have been living at Best Friends since January while handlers try to reverse the mental damage done at Vick’s 15-acre estate in southeastern Virginia. Vick, a former NFL quarterback, is serving a two-year prison sentence in connection with the dogfighting operation.
n NORFOLK, Va. ó Attorneys representing Vick in his federal bankruptcy case in Virginia say the imprisoned quarterback expects to return to football.
In a disclosure statement filed before a hearing Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the attorneys wrote that Vick “has every reason to believe” he will be reinstated by the NFL once he completes his sentence.

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