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News & Notes: Springs Sidelined Again

Cornerback Shawn Springs has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans. The team wants to give Springs additional rest as he continues to rehab from abdominal surgery in mid-August.

On Wednesday, Springs had returned to practice, but he suffered a mild groin injury and left practice early.

Team officials emphasized that the groin injury was not a primary factor in the Redskins' decision to rule Springs out for the Texans game.

"Hopefully he'll be ready to go next week," assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said.

With Springs sidelined, the Redskins are expected to start Kenny Wright opposite Carlos Rogers, with Mike Rumph and Ade Jimoh serving in nickel and dime packages.

The absence of Springs has certainly had an impact on how opposing teams are attacking the Redskins' defense--and what defensive packages Williams can employ on game day. For example, Williams may not blitz the quarterback as aggressively with Springs out of the lineup.

The Redskins are ranked 21st in the NFL in pass defense.

"I think the biggest thing with Shawn's absence has been from a communication and leadership standpoint," Williams said. "You take a look at how many new guys are back there playing together right now--there are an awful lot of new guys communicating with each other."

Meantime, defensive tackle Joe Salave'a remains questionable with a calf injury suffered in last Sunday's game against the Cowboys. He was held out of practice again on Thursday.

Santana Moss returned to practice on Thursday after missing one day to rest a sore hip.

-- PORTIS AT PRACTICE

#### -- DUCKETT AND SHORT YARDAGE

T.J. Duckett likes being thought of as "just a short yardage back." That way, he can surprise defenses on long yardage plays.

"It keeps them off guard," the 6-0, 254-pound bruising running back said. "If defenses think that, then we can surprise them with something else. I've always tried to develop myself as an overall back and do what I can in any situation on the field."

Duckett, acquired by the Redskins in mid-August in a three-way trade with the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos, saw his first action as a Redskin in Sunday's game at Dallas. He logged 24 yards on five carries, including a 15-yard run.

Duckett says he feels comfortable with the Redskins' playbook, despite having only played in it for a month.

"I'm learning the pace of the running game and I feel like I'm able to produce," he said.

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