(Carolyn Kaster/AP)

   “I feel good,” Hightower said. “I’ve got work to do, but I feel better. It feels good to finally be out there on the field and I’m not watching. . . . I have confidence. I had confidence when I was laying up in the hospital. But I think it’ll get better. It’ll get better with time and it’ll get better with training camp. I’m not worried about it.”

   Hightower was on the field in the team’s indoor practice facility for its morning walk-through at Redskins Park. The Redskins’ first practice of camp is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, and Hightower said: “At 3 o’clock, my cleats will be on. My helmet will be on. I’ll be ready to practice.”

   But Hightower, whose 2011 season ended when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in October, said the team’s coaches will determine his schedule for participating in practices throughout training camp.

“All I know is when they put me in there, I’m full speed,” he said. “I’ve got to be smart about it. Anytime I’m in there, my teammates and myself expect me to be 110 [percent] and giving them an opportunity to win. If I’m not able to do that, I’m not going to be in there. . . . You’ve got to go day by day. I’ve never gone through this process before. I was telling them I could practice six months out, when I know I wasn’t ready to practice. I’ve just been taking it one day at a time and feeling better, training and training and a lot of training and rehab.”

   Hightower said he doesn’t see any early front-runner as he and fellow tailbacks Roy Helu and Evan Royster vie for playing time and carries.

   “I look at it as approaching my job: I want to be the best,” Hightower said. “I want to be the best and to do the best, you’ve got to be a part of the best. Whether that’s starting . . . it doesn’t matter. I don’t look at all the stats and all that stuff. All I know is, I want to be the best and I want to be a part of the best.

   “We have a lot of depth at a very good position. We’ll determine that. Our play will determine that and how we push each other is going to determine that. I don’t think anyone has won a job the first day. I don’t think anyone has lost a job the first day. I think we’ve all got to push each other and we’ve all got to make each other better. Come that first game, the best man will be on the field.”


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