ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Football Team received better-than-expected news on tight end Logan Thomas' injured left knee, coach Ron Rivera said, but that does not yet mean Thomas will return this season.
Rivera said an MRI revealed that Thomas did not tear his ACL, as was originally feared, but that there was damage to his knee. Initial reports said Washington feared that he had torn both his ACL and MCL. A torn MCL would still require surgery and could sideline him for the rest of the season, barring a playoff run, according to a source.
Rivera said during a conference call that they were awaiting confirmation on the results and that he did "not want to get ahead of it" by saying how long Thomas would be out. Still, if further tests confirm no torn ACL then, if nothing else, it allows Thomas to recover well ahead of next season. That would be a big win for him and the organization.
Washington has won four in a row and currently owns the sixth playoff spot. Thomas already missed six games this season because of a hamstring injury, which landed him on injured reserve. If Washington placed Thomas on injured reserve again, he'd be done for the season.
The WFT also could opt to keep Thomas on the active roster, just in case he could return in four to six weeks for the playoffs. But it's possible they might need that roster spot if more injuries hit.
Thomas was hurt with 10 minutes left in Sunday's 17-15 win over the Las Vegas Raiders when defensive end Yannick Ngakoue went low as Thomas pulled from the opposite side to block him. Rivera said he wishes Ngakoue had used his hands to fight off Thomas rather than go low.
"It's an unfortunate play," Rivera said. "I felt it was something that was avoidable."
Thomas was a key target for Washington, especially in the red zone, and had developed into a physical blocker. He caught a career-high 72 passes and six touchdowns last season, earning a three-year contract extension worth up to $24.05 million. In parts of six games this season, Thomas caught 18 passes, including three for scores. He leads all NFL tight ends since the start of last season with 151 yards receiving in the red zone. At 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, the former quarterback makes for a big target.
Washington should be helped this week with the expected return of tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, who missed the last three games with a hip injury. It also has rookie John Bates, who has earned praise for his blocking in particular.
Rivera also said defensive end Montez Sweat, on injured reserve with a jaw injury, might be cleared to resume practice Wednesday. At that point Washington would have 21 days to activate him. Also, Rivera said he is anticipating that safety/linebacker Landon Collins will return to practice Wednesday. He did not play Sunday because of a foot injury.