BALTIMORE — Second-year running back Chris Thompson will not play for the Washington Redskins in their preseason game tonight against the Baltimore Ravens. Meanwhile, fellow running back Lache Seastrunk, who received a leave of absence earlier this week because of the death of his grandmother, has returned, and he will play.
Thompson tested out his ankle 2-1/2 hours before kickoff, but was unable to give it a go. It marks the second straight preseason game on the sidelines for Thompson, who was expected to compete for the third-down back role in Washington’s offense.
But Thompson hasn’t played since injuring his ankle Aug. 7 in the preseason opener against New England. Thompson, a fifth-round pick last season, missed 12 straight practices, but then took part in individual drills on Wednesday and Thursday. Coach Jay Gruden on Thursday had said Thompson remained “50-50″ to play on Saturday, and that he didn’t expect a decision until just before the game.
Alfred Morris is Washington’s starting running back, and the team has consistently used Roy Helu Jr. as his top backup. Evan Royster, Seastrunk, Silas Redd and Thompson are all vying for the final one or two running back spots on the roster.
Injuries are nothing new for Thompson. He last had a healthy season as a sophomore in college. Thompson broke his back as a junior at Florida State, then tore his ACL as a senior. Last season, he missed all but four games for Washington with a torn labrum in his shoulder.
Gruden has said a number of times that Thompson falls further behind in the competition with every day that he misses. He has said Thompson needs to get back on the field soon, but he also has noted that it’s important for the speedy back to return to as close to 100 percent as possible so he can compete at a high level.
Thompson boasts a speed and elusiveness, as well as a pass-catching ability, that make him unique. But because of his lack of durability thus far, and the inability to get back on the field, he said this week said he is concerned about his status.
“Of course, I am, to be honest with you,” Thompson said. “I want to be out there. I just know that physically, I can’t right now. Everything else is just pretty much out of my control. All I can do is take it day by day and hope that I’ve shown the coaches enough that they feel comfortable in being patient with me … until I finally get this ankle right.”