ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed hasn’t tested his hamstring at full speed this week and still can feel a twinge when he slows down. That’s why he’s not sure what to expect for Sunday’s game at New Orleans.
Reed has missed the last two games because of the hamstring injury. He returned to practice last week, but suffered a setback and hasn’t practiced since Nov. 9. He remains hopeful that he can return, but he also is realistic.
“We’ve just got to be smart this week,” Reed said.
If Reed can’t play, the Redskins do have options. Vernon Davis has been their top downfield threat at tight end, but his biggest plays have occurred when Reed also has been active. Rookie Jeremy Sprinkle has played the last two games, but doesn’t have a catch. Niles Paul has missed the last two weeks with a concussion and was limited Thursday.
Reed called his situation frustrating.
“It’s just a lingering thing,” he said. “The only way for it to heal is to rest it. We don’t have time for that right now. So it can be confusing and tricky to try and get back out there. The way I hurt it, I was decelerating. So it wasn’t really opening up, it was slowing down. Now every time I try to slow down, I can feel it a little bit. I’ve got to pay it real close [attention] and stay on top of it.”
Reed has worked with athletic trainers on a side field during practice, going less than full speed through agility and resistance work.
For Redskins coach Jay Gruden, the hard part is knowing how to adjust his game plan. Reed is such a big part of any game plan when healthy, that the coaches will have to prepare for dual scenarios. A lot of the game plan is formulated early in the week; this is the second time Reed’s status at this point in the week has been uncertain. But they will have a Plan B if Reed can't go.
“When he’s not in, you have to adjust your game plan again,” Gruden said. “It’d be nice to know on Monday if he’s going to play Sunday because it factors into everything. Your personnel groupings are affected, how many plays you carry in each personnel grouping have a major impact. That’s the most difficult thing.”
Reed wasn’t the only Redskins player not to participate in practice Thursday. Tackle Trent Williams, as expected, sat out again because of his knee issue. Receiver Terrelle Pryor missed because of an ankle injury that required an MRI. Center Spencer Long also couldn’t practice because of his knees. He struggled when pulling Sunday.
Linebacker Zach Brown (Achilles soreness) was limited for a second consecutive day. Safety Montae Nicholson (shoulder) was limited, but he was confident he’d play. If he does play, Nicholson would start alongside D.J. Swearinger, with DeAngelo Hall as a third safety.