Defensive lineman Adam Carriker has yet to return from a season-ending injury suffered in Week 2 of 2012. (Tom Gannam/Associated Press)

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said that it would take “a minor miracle” for rehabilitating defensive end Adam Carriker to make it back to action before the end of the season.

Carriker continues to rehab from three surgeries to repair a torn right quadriceps tendon and isn’t close to returning to practice, Shanahan said.

Carriker suffered the injury in Week 2 of the 2012 season and had surgery last fall, another this past spring, and the third in late July because he still had yet to regain full range of motion in the knee.

The team had to make a decision this week on whether to place Carriker on season-ending injured reserve, or to keep him on the physically unable to perform list. The team on Tuesday opted to keep Carriker on the PUP list, and he was listed under the “returned to practice” designation.

But he actually hasn’t done so, Shanahan said. The move did, however, start a 21-day window in which the team must evaluate Carriker and by the end of that period, decide whether to place him on IR, or cut him, or activate him.

Shanahan said the move wasn’t a sign that Carriker’s status had changed.

“Carriker, kinda like I told you before,” Shanahan said. “Even though he’s on the 21-day list, he’s a long shot – a very long shot – he will be up. He’s doing rehab, he’s lifting weights, working extremely hard. But it’ll be a minor miracle if he came back this year.”

The coach added, “Either way, he’s going to be IR’d if we don’t activate him in 21 days. I said it’d be a long shot, but there’s always a chance. Basically, he’ll be IR’d if he doesn’t practice, so it’s the same thing.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

What’s ahead:

● A 7 a.m. post on bad officiating.

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Video: Shanahan on Carriker: