RICHMOND – Defensive end Jason Hatcher will not join his teammates on the practice field when they kick off training camp Thursday morning, Coach Jay Gruden said. Instead, Washington’s highest-profiled free agent acquisition on defense will open camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
Hatcher had arthroscopic knee surgery on June 20th, and at the time was told to expect a four- to six-week recovery time. Thursday’s start to training camp represents the five-week mark. Hatcher has expressed encouragement over the progress he has made in his rehabilitation, but people within the organization maintained earlier this week that he wasn’t a lock to practice right off the bat.
Gruden downplayed concerns over Hatcher’s recovery.
“He’s being monitored closely by Larry [Hess], our trainer, and as soon as they see fit, he’ll be ready to go,” the coach said. According to NFL rules, a member of the training camp PUP list can return to action at any point.
Gruden said defensive lineman Stephen Bowen, wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and offensive lineman Maurice Hurt also will open camp on the PUP list.
Bowen continues to strengthen his knee after spending the offseason recovering from microfracture surgery. Hankerson has spent the offseason rehabbing from surgery to repair a torn ACL.
Hurt, according to Gruden, showed up to camp out of shape and must work to improve his physical state before receiving clearance to practice. Hurt – a seventh-round pick in 2011 – opened last training camp on the PUP list after spending the summer recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. The team put him on the regular season PUP list to start the year, and he wound up being moved to injured reserve late in the year after failing to provide a satisfactory body of work during the three-week practice evaluation period. Hurt spent the offseason program as a fourth-string right tackle, but entered the league at guard. He has starter Tyler Polumbus, rookie Morgan Moses and second-year pro Tom Compton ahead of him on the depth chart.
Gruden didn’t reveal any target return dates for any of the players, but he said he believes Hatcher will return to action before the other three.
“I’m going to leave that up to Larry, and their progress will speak for itself,” Gruden said. “We don’t want to rush anybody back from an injury, obviously. So, 100 percent is a good number for us.”