ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Football Team, on a two-game winning streak, may have additional offensive help available Monday night vs. Seattle as tight end Logan Thomas and receiver Curtis Samuel are expected to play, barring a last minute-change in their health.
Samuel is listed as questionable; Thomas remains on injured reserve but the expectation is that he'll be activated in time to play Monday. Both would be limited to a snap count, coach Ron Rivera said, though Thomas probably would play more than Samuel.
Thomas hasn't played since hurting a hamstring in the first quarter of an Oct. 3 win at Atlanta. He returned to practice Wednesday. Thomas has caught 12 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns this season.
Samuel's likely return was aided by a steroid and anti-inflammatory injection he received last week, the final step in allowing him to recover from a groin injury suffered in late spring.
"He's been trending up," Rivera told reporters. "We feel very comfortable and confident with him."
Samuel practiced all week and if he indeed plays, he is likely to be limited to no more than 15 snaps. He last played on Oct. 10 vs. New Orleans, lasting only two snaps before the injury started to bother him again.
Samuel suffered the initial injury during OTAs and underwent surgery in early June. He's been slowed by missing two weeks of practice and rehabbing in August due to having Covid-19. When he returned, Washington played him more than desired vs. Atlanta on Oct. 3 after losing other players to injury during the game.
Samuel spent the first three games on injured reserve. But since he got hurt again, Washington did not want to put him on injured reserve because he'd then be done for the season.
Samuel visited noted surgeon Dr. William Meyers, who performed the initial core muscle surgery in June, several times. After Meyers recommended that Samuel rest to let the injury calm down, Samuel returned to Philadelphia to visit him last week. Following an MRI, Samuel received the injection.
"He's done everything he's supposed to do," Rivera said of Samuel earlier this week. "All I know is since he came back [from Philadelphia], he's been great."
Samuel returned to practice the week of the season opener but tweaked his groin and was soon placed on injured reserve.
He has played 27 snaps this season. He played 25 snaps vs. Atlanta -- 10 to 15 more than the initial number the team wanted him to play.
"That's our fault," Rivera said of Samuel tweaking his groin vs. Atlanta. "No matter what we shouldn't have done it. We screwed it up and he had a setback. ... We were getting desperate."
That's because Washington receivers Cam Sims (hamstring) and Dyami Brown (knee) left that game with injuries as did Thomas (hamstring). It left Washington thin at receiver, causing Samuel to play more.
Rivera said he has been patient with Samuel in part because of what he saw him do as a rookie. Samuel suffered ligament damage and broke an ankle during that season.
"He rehabbed his ass off," Rivera said. "He also bought a Jugs machine to work on catching balls [while rehabbing]. I know this kid is dedicated. He wanted to play last week, but he wasn't ready."
Thomas' return comes at a good time with his backup, Ricky Seals-Jones, out with a hip injury. Rookies John Bates was the primary tight end target in last week's win at Carolina. He's primarily a blocking tight end, but did finish with three catches for 23 yards.
Thomas will help in the red zone. In 19 full games with Washington, Thomas has caught 18 of 20 passes thrown to him in that area for 144 yards and eight touchdowns. Even though Thomas has missed six games this year, he still has the most yards of any tight end in the red zone over the past two years combined and he's tied for fifth in touchdowns.