After suffering a setback during practice last week, Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed acknowledged Thursday he’s frustrated by the lingering nature of the hamstring injury that has sidelined him the past two games and gave no indication of his likelihood of playing Sunday at New Orleans.
“It’s frustrating, man,” Reed told reporters after sitting out Thursday’s practice at Redskins Park. “It’s right up there with all the other [injury-shortened] seasons. All I can focus on now is today and doing what I got to do, so when I come back, I can try to finish strong.”
The uncertainty of Reed’s status is also a challenge for Coach Jay Gruden, given the tight end’s prominence in any offensive game plan.
“When he’s not in, you kind of have to adjust your game plan again, so that’s the most difficult challenge,” Gruden said. “The big thing is getting him healthy; that’s all we care about. But it’d be nice to know on Monday if he’s going to play on Sunday because it factors into everything — red zone, short yardage, all your play-action passes. Your personnel groups are affected — how many plays you carry in each personnel groups have a major impact, so that’s the most difficult thing.”
Midway through his fifth season NFL season, the 6-foot-2, 246-pound Reed has yet to play a full 16-game season or hit the 1,000-yard receiving mark in any given year, nagged alternately by shoulder and hamstring injuries and suffering at least five diagnosed concussions.
He has appeared in six of the Redskins’ nine games this season, missing the Week 3 victory over Oakland (ribs), the Week 9 victory at Seattle (hamstring) and last week’s loss to Minnesota (reinjured hamstring).
Reed’s 27 catches this season are tied with wide receiver Ryan Grant for fourth most on the team. Both of his touchdowns came in the Week 7 loss to the Eagles. But NFL defenses respect Reed’s ability, regardless of his week-to-week production, so his mere presence on the field has tremendous value because it alters coverage.
Reed classified himself Thursday at “day-to-day,” explaining: “Last week we had a little setback, so this week we’re trying to do things the right way and just take it slow and make sure I’m healthy before I get out there.”
Reed said he aggravated his hamstring while “decelerating,” rather than accelerating and “opening up” the muscle at the back of his thigh. As a result, he said, he feels discomfort whenever he slows down after running full-out.
“It’s just a lingering thing,” Reed said. “The only way for it to heal is for you to rest it, and we don’t have time for that right now. It could be confusing and tricky trying to get back out there.”
Asked if the fact that the Redskins will have only a four-day turnaround between Sunday’s game at New Orleans (7-2) and their Thanksgiving Day game against the Giants would play a role in his decision-making about whether he felt ready to play Sunday, Reed said: “Honestly, I ain’t even thinking about next week. Just today and just trying to get better.”
Also sitting out Thursday’s practice were left tackle Trent Williams (knee), wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (ankle) and center Spencer Long (knees).
Eleven players were limited: linebacker Zach Brown (Achilles’), Grant (concussion), safety DeAngelo Hall (knee), defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis (hand), defensive lineman Anthony Lanier (knee), left guard Shawn Lauvao (stinger), safety Montae Nicholson (shoulder), tight end Niles Paul (concussion), swing tackle Ty Nsekhe (core muscle), wide receiver Brian Quick (concussion) and right guard Brandon Scherff (knee).
Gruden said that if Nicholson were available Sunday, he would start alongside D.J. Swearinger, and Hall would be in reserve as a third safety.
After placing offensive lineman T.J. Clemmings on injured reserve, the Redskins brought back guard Tyler Catalina.