Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan agreed with Chris Cooley that the tight end was a casualty of the lockout and said that in hindsight, Cooley probably should have been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of training camp to give his surgically repaired left knee more time to heal.
Cooley had arthroscopic surgery on the knee at the completion of the 2010 season, but because of the NFL lockout, he and all other players were prevented from setting foot on team property and couldn’t have contact with coaches or even the team doctors and trainers.
Cooley said had he been able to rehabilitate under the supervision of the team’s medical staff, he and the Redskins would have entered training camp with a better understanding of how far off he was from making a full recovery.
“I agree with him 100 percent,” Shanahan said. “I think anybody that has an offseason surgery and needs your training staff, the rehab process and you’re not able to go through that process. I think it really hurts.”
Had the Redskins known that Cooley still needed more time to recover, instead of allowing him to practice during training camp, they could have placed him on the PUP list. While on the PUP list, Cooley wouldn’t have been able to practice or play in preseason games, but could have continued to work with the Redskins’ trainers while strengthening his knee without taking up a roster spot. If Cooley wasn’t ready to be activated off of the PUP list when the regular season began, he could have spent the first six weeks of the season on the PUP list and then been evaluated in practice during a two-week span before the Redskins decided whether he was ready to play or if he would then be placed on injured reserve.
“To be honest with you, we probably should’ve went in that direction to start with,” Shanahan said. “We really thought Chris was feeling good, he indicated to us he felt he’d be ready to go. If you look back, if he had a normal offseason, I think he would’ve been on the PUP list. But coming back the way he did, us thinking he was able to go and he felt like he was ready to go, we didn’t go in that direction.”
“Now if he was on the PUP list, could he go full-speed right now? I can’t answer that question. But I’m not sure that wouldn’t have been in his best interest and our best interest if we had to do it over again and we knew for sure that he was as bad as he was.”
The Redskins did elect to place safety Kareem Moore on the PUP list at the start of training camp because he too was rehabbing from an offseason knee surgery. Washington kept him there as the season opened, and this week he started practicing so coaches can evaluate whether he is healthy enough to return or not.