Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley said Monday he expects to return to practice next week and is “100 percent confident” he will play in the season opener against the New York Giants on Sept. 11.


After the last few weeks of treatment, Cooley said he finally is experiencing improvement.

“I’ve been making dramatic progress over the last few weeks,” the tight end said. “I’ve been so pleased with our training staff. Our head trainer Larry Hess has done everything possible that we could think of to treat my knee. Three weeks ago, I was unsure of completely what kind of recovery progress I’d be making. But now I’m 100 percent confident that I’ll play against the Giants.”

Cooley said the treatment he has been receiving is designed to “calm [the inflammation] down, getting the muscles around it to work right again and strengthening it.”

He expects that the knee will require treatment throughout the year, but hopes he will be able to keep the pain to a minimal level.

Cooley has missed only seven games in his seven-year career. That stretch was in 2009 when he broke a bone in his foot. A player who hates even to miss practices, Cooley said the time off has been torturous, but he has been able to draw two positives from it.

“It is devastating not to be out there with the guys. It’s so tough to watch a game. I sat on the sideline the other night against Baltimore and I was so pumped up that I felt like I was going to play the game. So it’s been very tough for me. But at the same time, I’ve had a lot of time to get in great shape, and I’ve spent more time than ever in the offense and the playbook because I’ve basically lived at Redskins Park and received treatment. So, it’s a lot of time to learn an offense.”