With just two weeks remaining until opening day, the Redskins still have a number of players trying to work their way back into the lineup due to injuries. Obviously there is very little time left to prepare, so with every day spent on the sidelines watching, some of these players look less and less like contributing on opening day.
The biggest news is that, as feared, Jarvis Jenkins will miss the entire 2011 season due to what is believed to be a tear of his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). Mike Shanhan confirmed the news today, adding that, "It's tough," and that, "He's everything you look for in a person, a football player." Shanahan went on to say that despite the depth the Redskins have on the defensive line, a player like Jenkins cannot be replaced.
Jenkins himself seems to be taking it in stride, and couldn't possibly have a better attitude. He sent out the following tweet on Saturday morning, "3rd rehab of the day...if my brothers out there working I'm gon work #nodaysoff".
It's that kind of dedication that brought him to the Redskins, and it's that kind of dedication that will see Jarvis work through his rehabilitation, and come back as good as new.
Ryan Torain returned to practice on Saturday, and barring any setbacks, should be able to play in the preseason finale on Thursday night against Tampa Bay. The running back has likely been chomping at the bit while being shelved by a hand injury, he's had to watch Tim Hightower take his starting position - a situation not likely to change come opening day against the Giants. Torain can't concern himself with anything but getting back on the field, being productive, and staying healthy; otherwise, he might not be on the roster at all.
Still not practicing on Saturday were Adam Carriker, Chris Cooley, Brandon Banks, LaRon Landry, Maurice Hurt, Edgar Jones, and Malcolm Kelly.
Carriker has been sidelined about a week with blisters, and while they haven't quite yet healed up, they wouldn't keep him from playing were it the regular season. He would like to play on Thursday against the Bucs, but with Jenkins now sidelined, discretion might be the better part of valor here.
Chris Cooley had another platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection on Friday, and is hoping to at least be running at the next Redskins practice. PRP injections contain significantly increased platelet concentration, and are supposed to aid in the healing process. While there's no rush to get Cooley playing time in the preseason, he doesn't have long to get in shape before opening day.
Brandon Banks isn't practicing yet, but his knee injury is believed to have healed enough that be might be available to play in the preseason finale on Thursday. If Banks can't go - he might find himself on injured reserve for 2011 so that the Redskins can keep Terrence Austin. The new kickoff rule drastically limits Banks' ability to contribute, as he has yet to establish himself as a receiving option. The new kicking rule is bad, and could very well be a one year wonder with every kick being a touchback, so there's real value in keeping Banks within the system. The only way to do that is to put him on IR.
LaRon Landry and Kareem Moore were put on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List at the beginning of training camp, and while it's still hoped that Landry will be ready to go in the season opener, it's looking Moore and Moore, like Kareem will be staying on the PUP list. His knee is still bothering him, and that will likely mean that the Redskins are without his services for a minimum of the first six weeks. That's even more significant given that Landry still hasn't stepped on to the field himself, and Oshiomogho Atogwe only just returned this week. Landry has actually recovered from the Achilles injury that originally sidelined him for training camp, but he tweaked a hamstring coming back, and is just coming back slowly to make sure that both injuries are healed in time for the opener. Regardless, the Redskins are banged up at safety, and the season hasn't even started.
Linebacker Edgar Jones should be able to resume practicing early this week, he's still nursing a concussion from that incredible collision he was at the wrong end of, against the Colts.
Offensive lineman Maurice Hurt was still sore on Saturday, but will also likely return to practice on Monday.
Malcolm Kelly is still not ready to go. He's probably not in a hurry to get cut - which is the likely scenario the moment he declares himself fit for duty. The Redskins would prefer to not have his cap number on the books, and cut him as soon as he's healthy, but no matter how the logistics work out, it's doubtful that Kelly will ever see the field in a Redskins uniform again. An unfortunate case of injury trumping talent.
Injuries are a part of football, and there's every likelihood that the lockout shortened offseason will make them as significant in 2011 as any other NFL season. Getting healthy before the season starts allows you to make the roster decisions that you want, as opposed to the ones that you have to. that's significant, considering that the first cut down comes Tuesday when the roster of 90 will be pared down to 80.
Hopefully the above list gets shorter this week, because it's getting close to crunch time. Washington has had a good offseason without some of these components, so getting them back will only help this young team come together.