When the Washington Redskins returned Monday after their Week 10 bye, four previously injured players — wide receiver Pierre Garcon, strong safety Brandon Meriweather, right tackle Jammal Brown and wide receiver Santana Moss — were on the field for various parts of the practice session.
Garcon practiced for the first time in six weeks and saw a fair amount of action, but didn’t practice fully because his injured toe is continuing to heal. Meriweather, after practicing in a limited capacity the past two weeks, ramped up his activity Monday, but also was listed as “limited” by the team.
Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Garcon’s status remains uncertain, but he was encouraged by Meriweather’s progress. Meriweather said he wants to play Sunday when the Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles, but would leave the decision up to the coaches and medical staff.
Moss, who suffered a concussion in the Week 9 loss to the Carolina Panthers, has fully recovered and practiced without limitation.
Brown has spent all of the preseason and regular season on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his hip. He remains on the PUP list, but is permitted to practice so coaches can evaluate him. They must determine whether he has healed enough to be activated to the 53-man roster or will be placed on the season-ending injured reserve list. The Redskins have 14 days to make a decision on Brown’s future.
Garcon and Meriweather were both signed in the preseason to solidify underperforming positions. But injuries have kept both from delivering on their potential.
Garcon, who signed a five-year, $42.5 million contract, has missed six of the Redskins’ nine games because of a torn ligament in the second toe of his right foot. Meriweather, who signed a five-year, $6 million deal that can be reduced to two years at $2.7 million, has yet to make his Redskins debut because of a recurring left knee injury he first suffered during the preseason.
Garcon initially hurt his toe while scoring on an 88-yard touchdown catch-and-run in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints. He missed the next two games then limped through two more, recording just four catches over the two outings.
Garcon saw foot specialist Dr. James Anderson in Charlotte on Oct. 24. Anderson’s findings confirmed team doctors’ conclusions. Garcon chose not to have surgery in the hope that six weeks of rest would allow the ligament to heal on its own.
While teammates scattered to their offseason homes last week, Garcon went to Denver to receive treatment on his toe from foot specialists, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The receiver has noticed some progress, but acknowledged that the injury isn’t yet fully healed.
“It’s a pain every time — walking, running, cutting. It’s a pain all the time. . . . I might have to deal with it the rest of my life,” Garcon said.
Asked about practice, the fifth-year pro said: “I did a lot. Didn’t do everything, didn’t take every play. Coach had us on a limited [snap count], getting back from a long break. I didn’t do as much as the guys that have been around the whole seven weeks.”
He added: “Every time you get a chance to play football, [it] brings a little joy to be back on the field. Knowing you’re not 100 percent, it isn’t as happy as I want to be, but I’m trying to think positive about it and trying to give my teammates some energy to play forward and make this run.”
It’s still possible, however, that Garcon could be shut down for the season and undergo surgery. He hopes it won’t come to that.
“The surgery’s not guaranteed to fix it,” he said. “So that’s weighing my options. I’ve never had surgery.”
Meriweather, who was envisioned as a starter this season, reported to Redskins Park for treatment during the bye. He refused to speculate on whether he would play Sunday but said he is hopeful that his days of watching games will soon end.
Meriweather initially strained the MCL and PCL in his left knee during the second preseason game, and didn’t return to the field until the week before Washington’s regular season opener. But Meriweather re-injured the same knee in his first practice back and tried to come back four weeks later, only to collide with wide receiver Aldrick Robinson during pregame warmups for the Redskins’ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s missed the past five games since that Sept. 30 incident.
Washington’s secondary has struggled mightily this season, yielding 301.7 passing yards per game (30th in the league).
“It’s hard for me to watch, period,” Meriweather said. “Not just because we’re struggling. Even if we were the best in the nation, in the league, it’d still be hard for me to watch.”