Have we seen the last of Clinton Portis?

As a Redskins fan, you’re undoubtedly aware by now that Clinton Portis is out for the next month or so, at minimum, with a 3rd degree groin separation. While that already sounds just plain awful, let’s clarify how bad it really is:

“A third-degree groin pull is represented by many ruptured muscle fibres, severely stretched tendons, and perhaps separation of a tendon from either its muscle or bony attachment [Note: take out the “perhaps” part for Portis]. Symptoms can persist for six to eight weeks – or even longer.”

Even with the aggressive round-the-clock treatment (and some of the finest painkillers money can buy) that he’ll be getting from team doctors, Portis won’t be coming back ’til shortly after midseason – and that’s a best-case scenario.

Yet even if he does come back this season, he’s not going to be anything close to the somewhat rejuvenated Portis that we’ve seen in glimpses this season. Yes, Portis will be medically cleared to play sometime in November, but it’s beyond far-fetched to think that the Redskins will be getting him back anywhere remotely close to 100%.

Between his overall conditioning and any lingering soreness from the injury, we may have seen the very last gasp of Portis’ attempt to resurrect a successful football career. This is the second season in a row that Portis is going to miss significant playing time; if he’s placed on injured reserve as a result of this injury, Portis will have missed 8 or more games in 3 of his last 5 seasons.

On the business side of things, Portis is set to make $8.5 million next year, which means that the Redskins can cut him with no salary cap hit (I think). Unless the ghost of Vinny Cerrato temporarily takes over Bruce Allen’s better judgment, Allen can hack off a huge portion of the Redskins bloated payroll, with virtually no repercussions, and use that cap room to rebuild the roster in a manner which he and Mike Shanahan see fit.

With the NFL going the way of a one-two punch in the backfield as it is, the Redskins certainly have options going forward. Ryan Torain, originally drafted by Mike Shanahan in Denver, has looked really good so far, though his violent running style isn’t conducive to him being a full-time feature back. But guys like Arian Foster and Ahmad Bradshaw (both sitting in the top 5 in rushing yards) have proven that you don’t have to spend a high draft choice to find a productive runner.

Whether it’s through the draft, or another reclamation project through free agency (how about Jerome Harrison?), the Redskins should be able to find a suitable running back to pair with Torain at a far more reasonable price than $8.5 million dollars.

The NFL is a cold and heartless business, and unfortunately, Portis’ injury has as many ramifications for his playing career as it does for his 2010 season.


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