ASHBURN, Va. -- Shawn Lauvao is officially back in the starting lineup. Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden confirmed Lauvao will start at left guard for the season opener vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Lauvao had been rotating with Spencer Long at left guard throughout training camp as he returned from an ankle injury that sidelined him for the final 14 games last season, including the playoffs. Long took over for Lauvao and, though he steadily progressed, he was not as effective as the veteran starter.
Lauvao also needed multiple surgeries on both feet after his injury.
"Shawn has done an excellent job," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "We weren't sure how Shawn was going to recover from his feet issues and he's come back in a big way. He was our starter before Spencer became the starter when Shawn got hurt and Shawn has proven he's back in tip-top shape and done an excellent job. I feel great about both of those guys, I really do. I wouldn't bat an eye whoever was in there – Spencer or Shawn."
Long has worked as Kory Lichtensteiger's backup at center as well. Gruden called Long a "work in progress" at center.
"But we feel his upside at center is great, we really do," Gruden said. "He's going to continue to get a lot of work in practice and if his number is called -- hopefully it won't be -- but if it is, he will be ready. He's a great asset for us because he can back up both guard positions and he can play center as effective as our starters right now and not many teams can say that."