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PRO FOOTBALL REPORT : WEEKDAY UPDATE : Around the NFL : Montana Gets Clearance to Start

<i> Associated Press</i>

Quarterback Joe Montana has been given medical clearance to start for the San Francisco 49ers Sunday at the Metrodome against the Minnesota Vikings.

Montana, who aggravated a groin injury before last Sunday’s 13-10 loss to the Saints, returned to practice Wednesday.

“I feel we will go with same plan we had going into the last ballgame,” Coach George Seifert said. “He’ll start the game and play about a half, followed by Steve Young.

“Now if something came up and we didn’t like what was taking place, for whatever reasons, then we could limit that. By tomorrow I might change my mind, but that’s the way I feel right now. He’s OK . . . He can go.”

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Montana hinted that his not suiting up last Sunday was more a precautionary measure than anything else.

“I can move, throw and do just about everything,” he said. “They (medical experts) were just making sure what it was cleared before I did anything (to cause further damage). I was only going to play a half anyway, so why take a chance?”

The Washington Redskins said running back Gerald Riggs and perhaps another player would be activated to fill the gaps created by the absence of three players sidelined by injuries for Sunday’s home game against Buffalo.

Running back Kelvin Bryant, defensive lineman Eric Williams, and cornerback Sidney Johnson will sit out, and defensive end Markus Koch is listed as questionable.

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The loss of Williams and Koch would cost the Redskins half of their starting defensive line. Tackle Tracy Rocker might be activated in their absence. Defensive end Charles Mann also sat out practice Wednesday with a sore knee but is expected to play. Wide receiver Art Monk and linebacker Kurt Gouveia also did not practice but are expected to play.

Bryant’s sprained knee appears to be the most serious of the injuries, and Riggs, who practiced Wednesday for the first time since spraining a foot arch Nov. 12, may take his place. Bryant may go to the injured list.

“Gerald looked good,” Gibbs said. “My guess is (activating him) is what we’d do.”

Injuries also forced assistant coach Jim Hanifan to shuffle players along the offensive line, as he has all but one week this season. Guards Mark Schlereth and Raleigh McKenzie have sprained ankles, so Mark Adickes and Russ Grimm may take their place as blockers.

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