ASHBURN — Maybe Josh Doctson will be begin the season on the NFL’s physically unable to perform list. Maybe he’ll play in the fourth preseason game. Maybe he’ll be ready for the season opener. Maybe it will be weeks before the Redskins see their first-round draft pick in 2016 on the field.
Clarity has never been a strong point here as the long rehabilitation process continues for Doctson, who again worked on a side field on Tuesday with team trainers while the Redskins practiced. He has not participated in one himself since May 25 during OTAs thanks to a sore left Achilles. And while Doctson has done more on-field physical activity work over the past 10 days, it’s been in shorts and a T-shirt and not pads and a uniform.
“I don’t think so. I don’t know,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said when asked if Doctson would begin the year on the PUP list.
That conflicting sense of where Doctson stands has frustrated everybody in the organization, including the rookie wide receiver, for months now. He’s begun doing footwork drills regularly during practices now, stepping gingerly over a rope ladder or standing on a box and catching a football tossed softly from a few feet away.
“I have total expectation that [Doctson is] going to be ready for Week 1, possibly the fourth preseason game,” Gruden said before blowing apart that definitive statement. “But we’ll see. Like I said, it’s a new injury to me.”
On Tuesday, Doctson actually ran a route tree – albeit at half speed, according to Gruden. Still, that’s enough progress that Gruden expressed hope Doctson could play in the final preseason game on Sept. 1 at Tampa Bay.
“It’s a unique [injury],” Gruden said. “I think it’s just something that he’s going to have to work through. He’s going to have to be honest with the trainers, honest with the coaching staff. We’re going to try and push him when we can push him. I think it’s just a matter of him getting out there.”
Follow Redskins reporter Brian McNally on Twitter.