Washington Commanders Brian Robinson on NFI list so he won't try to rush back, coach Ron Rivera says

OXON HILL, Md. -- The Washington Commanders removed any pressure on rookie running back Brian Robinson to return too soon by placing him on the reserve/non-football injury list Thursday.

Robinson will miss at least four games. If he is recovered after that time, he can play in Week 5. If not -- and if doctors believe he'll need several more weeks -- then the Commanders could always place him on injured reserve.

Washington coach Ron Rivera said that after talking to doctors, the team determined placing him on the NFI list was "making sure it was about him recovering, not just physically but mentally."

"Knowing who he is and what type of young man he is and wanting to get back as quickly as he could," Rivera said, "doctors thought it would be a good decision."

Robinson was shot twice Sunday evening in Washington, D.C. in what the police report described as an aggravated assault. He underwent surgery Monday and Rivera said Robinson suffered no structural damage. He visited the Commanders' practice facility Tuesday, using crutches and with his right knee wrapped.

Robinson, a third-round pick in April, had emerged as Washington's primary running back on early downs because of his consistency and power running between the tackles. The Commanders still have veterans Antonio Gibson, who rushed for 1,037 yards last season, and J.D. McKissic, their third-down back who has 123 catches in 27 games with Washington the past two years. Gibson can help in the pass game as well.

The Commanders also have versatile receiver Curtis Samuel, who can occasionally line up at running back in certain packages. Washington also kept Jonathan Williams as a third running back on the 53-man roster. At Washington's Welcome Home Luncheon, co-owner Tanya Snyder told the audience that it was a "senseless attack."

"We were blessed to see him back in our facility just days after the incident," Snyder said, "a testament to his courage, resilience and what he means to his teammates."