Countdown to OTAs: Injuries on offense

Countdown to OTAs: Injuries on offense
May 15, 2013, 11:30 am
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Next Monday, Redskins Park will be abuzz as organized team activities (OTAs) get underway. For the first time since January, the parking lots will be full. The practice fields, weight and locker rooms, too, as coaches, veteran players and prospects officially begin their preparations for the 2013 NFL season. 

In the meantime, we’re going address some of the offseason-related questions we’re hearing from fans. Up next...

Question: What’s the status of the Redskins' ailing players as the team's offseason program ramps up? (We’ll discuss the offense today and tackle the defense tomorrow.)

Answer: Any guess what question Redskins reporters get asked most often?

(Hint: It's not, "How are you doing?")

That's right, it's, "How's RG3's knee?"

Well, as of today there's not a whole lot of new information. The next update on RG3's surgically repaired right knee will likely come May 23rd when Redskins Park is opened to the media. It’s expected that Coach Mike Shanahan – and possibly RG3 himself – will address reporters following that day’s on-field activities. But don't expect anything concrete a regarding timeframe. 

RG3’s health, obviously, is going to be the No. 1 storyline for the foreseeable future. But he’s not the only Redskin that fans should be monitoring in the coming weeks. Here's a complete list of everyone on offense who bears watching: 

  • RG3. He’s not expected to participate in OTAs or June’s minicamp. In fact, we probably won’t get a substantial sense of how his recovery is going until training camp opens July 25.
  • Fred Davis. The tight end was poised to have a huge season when a torn Achilles’ tendon brought everything to an abrupt halt in October. And   while he should be 100-percent recovered by now, he told me last month that he’s not sure how hard the training staff will want him to push the leg in OTAs.
  • Josh Morgan. The wide receiver had offseason surgeries on both hands and his previously repaired right ankle, which he says limited his burst last season. Morgan told late last month that he’s aiming to be ready on Monday, but he also stopped short of guaranteeing it.
  • Roy Helu Jr. The running back told me last month that he had surgery in February on the toe that ended his season after only three games in 2012. Then Shanahan revealed recently that Helu had a setback. The hope, though, is that he’ll be able to participate fully in OTAs.
  •  Jordan Reed. It was a bit of a surprise to see the tight end watching from the sidelines during rookie minicamp. Reed said he’s suffering from a bone bruise near his knee, while Shanahan said he’s also got a quadriceps strain that’s connected to the knee injury. Although Shanahan indicated that it’s not a major concern, it’s certainly worth noting that Reed is still hobbled several months after he says the injury occurred.
  • Chris Thompson. The running back’s Florida State career ended with a torn ACL last October. He told me earlier this month that he's already running and cutting but won't participate fully in OTAs and minicamp. He does, however, expect to receive medical clearance before training camp. It’s also important to point out that Thompson and Helu are likely fighting for one job. The guy who makes the 53 could ultimately come down to which one is healthiest.
  • Pierre Garçon. Although the wide receiver avoided surgery on the plantar plate tear in his right foot and did not miss a game after the bye week, he recently told NFL Network that he’s not 100-percent but is “healthy enough to play.” That shouldn't sound alarms, but it doesn't sound like he's where he wants to be, either. 
  • Kory Lichtensteiger. He wasn’t able to finish the Seattle playoff game because of a high ankle sprain. But he told last month that he’s 100-percent recovered and that he’s as healthy as he’s been in two years. 

The good news for the injured players is that there are four months until the Eagles visit FedEx Field. But there's going to be increased urgency in the coming weeks for them to get back on the field. After all, the Redskins are as deep as they've been in years and competition for jobs figures to be fierce. 

Right now, we’re admittedly short on answers. But once OTAs begin next week and reporters get a chance to speak to players and Shanahan, we should get clearer idea of who's on the mend and who's not.  

Best-case scenario: Reed’s injury is a minor one and the rookie will be on the field for OTAs. If not, he’s already missed rookie camp and will have a lot of catching up do.

Worst-case scenario: Helu’s ailing toe keeps him sidelined. The one thing missing from the offense last year was a change-of-pace back and, given his potential, Helu could be a good one. If he gets back on the field, that is.