It has been a lost season for Malcolm Kelly so far. He has a chance to make up for it down the stretch, though.
Kelly is back on the practice fields this week, testing a knee that has swelled up almost every time he runs on it.
Athletic trainers have been monitoring Kelly's knee closely, and through two days of practice this week the results have been positive.
"The main thing they wanted to make sure I wasn't favoring my leg, but I haven't been," Kelly said. "I feel pretty good right now."
Head coach Jim Zorn had indicated that if Kelly's knee doesn't respond, then the team would place him on injured reserve.
"Malcolm has practiced hard and he has had no setbacks in his knee, so that's a good sign," Zorn said.
Kelly is still playing catch-up in terms of getting in NFL playing shape and working in Zorn's offense on the field.
"I don't believe I am going to activate Malcolm this week because he is so far behind as far learning and reacting to all of the situations that's come up," Zorn said. "I'm just glad that he's feeling no pain and the knee is not swelling."
Kelly has struggled with a knee injury ever since he had arthroscopic knee surgery during training camp last August.
He was able to participate in two games, catching one pass for six yards in the Week 2 game against the Saints.
His knee continued to swell up, though. Coaches shut him down for the last three weeks.
Now Kelly is looking to reward their patience.
"I believe I can make an impact," he said. "I don't see why not. Once I get back in the groove--this is just my second practice in three weeks, so I need to get some rust off. The main thing for me is going through all my cuts and showing everybody I'm not hurting."
Kelly would love to make his return this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. He grew up in Longview, Tex., about an hour east of Dallas.
Yes, Kelly grew up a Cowboys fans, but he readily switched to burgundy and gold colors when the Redskins drafted him in the second round of last April's NFL Draft.
-- HALL'S PLAYING TIME
New cornerback DeAngelo Hall could get up to 20-30 snaps in Sunday's game against Dallas, according to secondary-cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray.
"He is familiar with our scheme somewhat," Gray said. "He is a little more advanced that you would think because Atlanta [where Hall played from 2004-07) ran some of the schemes that we run."
Added defensive coordinator Greg Blache: "DeAngelo can come in and play some man for us. We are primarily a man team, but we play some zone. He's an experienced corner who knows our verbiage, so he can play the zone if want him to.
"I feel very comfortable with him coming in and being a third cornerback, if necessary."
Meantime, Shawn Springs missed practice on Thursday as he returns from a calf injury.
Springs was expected to be back on the practice fields on Thursday, but he may have been held out due to a steady rainfall. Coaches did not want to risk having Springs slip and re-aggravate the calf injury in inclement weather.
-- STILL NO PORTIS
Clinton Portis remained sidelined at Thursday's practice as he recuperates from a sprained knee.
Portis is expected to be a game time decision for Sunday's game against Dallas.
"I was hoping there would be a little more optimism, and there's not," Jim Zorn said after practice. "He's still questionable. There was no change. I was expecting another jump [in his status]."
Ladell Betts took more reps during Thursday's session.
Betts was wearing a brace, despite telling reporters earlier in the week that he would not do so.
"Ladell made some cuts on his knee and looked good," Zorn said. "That was encouraging."
-- WASHINGTON HOPES TO PLAY
Marcus Washington sat out practice for the second day in a row as he rests a shoulder injury.
Washington was upbeat about his chances of playing on Sunday against Dallas.
"I don't want to miss a game like this," he said.
Jim Zorn was not as optimistic, though. He said Washington's status was "a little less than questionable."
If Washington is unable to play, then H.B. Blades would likely draw the start at strong-side linebacker.
-- INTO THE NIGHT
The Redskins are 0-2 in nationally televised, prime time games so far this season.
In Week 1, they lost to the New York Giants 16-7 in the Thursday night NFL season opener. Eight weeks later, they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-6 on Monday Night Football.
Up next, the Redskins take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
Is there any concern about the team's readiness to play night games?
"No, I don't think so," Zorn said. "There's something about the body clock that you have to take into account as you get ready for a game, but we played five night games in preseason and won three of them. So I don't think it's an issue."
-- MONTGOMERY'S HEEL
Anthony Montgomery continues to be slowed by an Achilles injury that has sidelined him for practice this week.
Jim Zorn did not sound optimistic that Montgomery would be available for Sunday's game against the Cowboys.
If Montgomery is unable to play, then Lorenzo Alexander would see an increase in playing time as a reserve defensive tackle.
Demetric Evans could also move inside to play defensive tackle in certain defensive packages.