Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger said Monday he is “100 percent” sure he’ll be ready to play for the Washington Redskins in their season opener Sunday at New Orleans.
Lichtensteiger missed the entire preseason after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery early in training camp.
He said after the Redskins’ practice Monday he’s confident he’ll be able to play against the Saints and believes he will be able to demonstrate his readiness to the team’s coaches on the practice field this week.
“Assuming they see what they want to see, I’m going to be playing,” Lichtensteiger said.
The Redskins’ projected starter at right tackle, Jammal Brown, will be out of the lineup at the outset of the season. He is on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing hip surgery. The team had as many as three projected starters on the offensive line sidelined for portions of the preseason, with Lichtensteiger on the shelf and right guard Chris Chester plagued by a sprained ankle.
But if Lichtensteiger returns this week, the Redskins will have four-fifths of their projected starting offensive line back on the field in New Orleans.
Lichtensteiger said he resumed practicing fully Friday and now is in the process of regaining his sharpness after missing virtually all of training camp and all four preseason games.
“Hopefully there’s not a lot of rust there to begin with,” Lichtensteiger said. “But there’s going to be some of that, yeah. It’s been a while. Today was my first full-go padded practice in a long time. Hopefully I’ll just keep getting better and then on Sunday I’ll feel ready to go.”
Second-year pro Maurice Hurt took most of the snaps with the starting offense at left guard while Lichtensteiger recovered from his knee surgery.
Hurt also started eight games last season. Lichtensteiger’s 2011 season was cut short by a torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
Lichtensteiger was back on the field at the start of training camp in July but lasted only a few days before undergoing another surgery on the same knee to clear out what the Redskins described as loose particles. Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said he was working to have Lichtensteiger back to face the Saints.
“It felt great at the beginning of camp, the first two days,” Lichtensteiger said. “It feels okay now. It feels like I can play on it. I feel like I’m going to play at the same level as I would have played before, and that’s all you can really ask for. Two knee surgeries in a year, it’s not going to feel great. But it feels as good as it can.”
Lichtensteiger said he initially considered the possibility of playing through the injury this season, but was told by doctors he would be unlikely to make it through the entire season without having arthroscopic surgery.
“After talking to the doctor, he kind of laid out what the chances of me making it through the season without a ‘scope versus with the ‘scope, and it was a no-brainer,” Lichtensteiger said.
His knee began to feel better, he said, about four weeks after this summer’s surgery.
“It was a little more painful than I thought it was going to be for the first three weeks or so,” Lichtensteiger said. “But I’m feeling good now.”