ASHBURN — Redskins running back Matt Jones will miss the rest of the preseason with a second-degree separation of his left shoulder.
There remains optimism that Jones will return for the Sept. 12 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But on Monday he was limited to riding an exercise bike on a side field while his teammates practiced.
“[Jones] has made significant strides already in a couple of days,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said. “So we have high hopes he’ll be ready.”
Jones was injured late in the first quarter of Friday’s preseason game against the New York Jets and diagnosed with a slight separation of the AC joint in his left shoulder. Gruden called it a Grade 2 separation on Monday. While riding the bike, Jones wore a stim monitor on his left shoulder to promote bloodflow. On Friday he rated the initial pain as a seven on a one-to-10 scale. Jones said that was down to a two on Monday.
“I don’t feel like this is even a setback, because I take mental reps on the field,” Jones said. “At OTAs I came so far just learning how I want to play and I took my practice to the game field, and I ran differently, I got downhill, so I don’t feel like this is a setback at all.”
For now, Washington will rely on Robert Kelley, Keith Marshall and Mack Brown – with the first two getting the lions’ share of carries with the first team in Friday’s preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.
Gruden also said running Chris Thompson, the lone back with NFL game experience, is “a little sore right now”. That should give the three players behind him even more time on Friday night. Kelley is an undrafted rookie free agent, Marshall was a seventh-round pick and Brown was on the practice squad last season.
“It’ll be interesting to watch these guys. These guys have shown a lot of promise in training camp,” Gruden said. “We want to see them in game situations against a good Buffalo team. It’ll be a good test for them. Good for everybody.”
Meanwhile, rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson did the same work as last Wednesday’s practice: Footwork drills on a rope ladder and a strengthening exercise standing on a box while catching a football tossed by a team staffer.
Wide receiver Reggie Diggs (arthroscopic knee surgery) also continued to rehabilitate off to the side while defensive end Jerrell Powe (heart procedure) ran sprints.
Left tackle Trent Williams (right knee) and tight end Jordan Reed (sprained left thumb) practiced fully on Monday. Both men missed the first two preseason games, but are expected to play Friday vs. Buffalo. Williams has been limited to individual drills during practice. Reed had been a full participant, but was held out as a precaution against the Jets.
“I feel good,” Williams said. “Obviously it’s still coach’s decision [to play vs. Buffalo], but I feel a lot better being able to get out there and knock the rust off.”
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