ASHBURN, Va. -- The scene remained the same as the Washington Redskins began to practice: Tight end Jordan Reed stood off to the side, unable to do anything, and was joined by left tackle Trent Williams, who, if he practices, does so later in the week.
It's been that way for nearly a month as Reed deals with a hamstring and Williams a knee issue. Neither player is ready to call it quits for the season, however. Reed is unlikely to play Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers -- ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that he will indeed miss his seventh consecutive game.
Considering that Reed didn't participate in any activities Wednesday and hasn't practiced since Nov. 9, he'd be a long shot for Sunday regardless. Which means he would only have three more games in which he could play. Williams, meanwhile, knows he'll need surgery on his knee after the season. Every week he's listed as questionable on the injury report; almost every week he somehow plays.
Perhaps when the Redskins are officially eliminated, Williams might be shut down. But he said that won’t be his decision.
"At that point, I would leave it up to the [coaches and front office]," Williams said. "If they want me to continue to push through, then I'll push through, no questions asked. If they tell me let's go ahead and start this recovery process, then that's what I'll do. I work for them."
Head coach Jay Gruden has said he'll leave it up to the player and trainers.
"I mean, it's always my decision," Williams said. "But like I said, whatever they want me to do is what I would do. Of course I can say. 'No, I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do that.' They would respect that. But I’m an employee of the Washington Redskins, so whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do.”
Williams also said he wants to keep blocking for quarterback Kirk Cousins. “I take pride in protecting Kirk,” he said. “He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve played together a long time. I know when he’s standing upright, he’s a really good quarterback. I want to see him be successful.”
Gruden said with Reed, the team is not yet ready to place him on injured reserve.
“That’s something I’ll discuss,” Reed said, speculating on a scenario in which the hamstring doesn’t feel better with only a game or two left. “We’ll all discuss it and make a choice together. We’re not there yet. I’m just focusing on getting my body healthy.”
There’s good reason to keep Williams on the field, especially vs. the Los Angeles Chargers. They have two excellent pass-rushers in ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Reed's presence impacts the passing game in a big way. One reason tight end Vernon Davis’ big plays have dropped is that defenses can assign better players against him or sometimes put two defenders around him.
Reed’s issues started not with his hamstring but with a fractured toe. He entered camp with that being an issue, and it led to more concerns. He had hip problems for a while, and now it’s led to the hamstring woes.
“Overcompensation from the right side, wear and tear,” Reed said. “That’s what caused the hamstring. The toe was unlucky. That came out of nowhere. I’ve just got to get it right.”
Reed has yet to play a full 16-game season; he’s appeared in only six games this season. So if he doesn’t return this week, he’ll end up having played nine games at most.
“I just hate that people sometimes label him as injury-prone,” Gruden said. “It’s just unlucky. With that bad toe, he tried to put too much weight on the other leg and that’s affected his hamstring. The big thing is to get him back to healthy, whether it’s this week, next week, the week after or in the offseason.”
Until then, Reed just tries to push through the frustration.
“It’s challenging,” Reed said. “It’s definitely challenging right now. It’s one of the hardest times in my life right now. I think things in the past strengthened me to the point where I can get through this and I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing.”