ASHBURN, Va. — Donovan McNabb is still hampered by sore hamstrings as he prepares for his first start since he was benched late in a game by coach Mike Shanahan.
The Washington Redskins quarterback stayed after practice Wednesday for extra work ahead of Monday night’s game against his old team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Right now, he’s improved from last week, but by no means is he full speed yet,” Shanahan said. “As we go later in the week, I’ll get a feel exactly where he’s at, but right now I can’t tell you if he could go full speed.”
Last week, Shanahan cited the ailing hamstrings as one of the reasons he pulled McNabb in the final minutes of a loss to the Detroit Lions. The coach said at the time that the Redskins had not practiced the 2-minute offense for five weeks because McNabb was too sore, and that Rex Grossman was therefore in better shape to handle the final drives.
The Redskins had a bye Sunday, giving McNabb extra time to rest. Shanahan said the team will find a way to practice the hurry-up offense this week, although it could be a slowed-down version if the McNabb is still hobbling.
McNabb is scheduled to meet with reporters Thursday.
Neither of the Redskins’ top two running backs was able to take part in the full practice. Clinton Portis has missed four games with a left groin injury, and Ryan Torain hurt a hamstring in the Detroit game. Portis appears to be closer to playing than Torain, but the state of the backfield is such that practice squad running back James Davis turned down a chance to sign with the Carolina Panthers because the odds seem favorable that Washington will promote him to the main squad before Monday.
“It took me about two, three hours to really make a decision whether to leave or not,” said Davis, who was cut by the Cleveland Browns last month. “Playing-wise, I thought this was a better situation for me. If I had went to Carolina, I probably would never have been activated at all.”
Keiland Williams, who has 10 carries for 38 yards on the season, would likely get the start if Portis and Torain don’t play.
Shanahan is also holding out hope that return man Brandon Banks could play Monday. Banks was expected to be miss one to three games after having knee surgery last week, but Shanahan said the 155-pound rookie is rehabilitating quickly.
“I think a lot has to do with his size,” Shanahan said. “Not as much weight on that knee. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”