ASHBURN, Virginia — The Washington Redskins finally received some good injury news Friday.
Coach Jay Gruden said he is “very optimistic” that running back Chris Thompson will return Monday night vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. Thompson was a full participant in practice Friday, the first time that has happened since he broke a rib on his right side during a Week 8 win at the New York Giants.
“I anticipate the guys that are full to be ready to play,” Gruden said.
Thompson has missed the past four games and six overall this season because of broken ribs. The Redskins are anxious to get him back because of his ability to help on third downs, whether catching the ball or in protection. They also want to use him to relieve starter Adrian Peterson in certain packages. Peterson has been dealing with a shoulder injury, and they want to make sure he finishes the final five games strong.
In five games, Thompson has caught 28 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown. He’s carried the ball 26 times for another 113 yards.
“When you watch him run, there is no issue,” Gruden said. “I think he’ll be fine.”
The Redskins have lost three of their past four games, and their offense hasn’t scored more than 23 points since Week 3. They rank 27th in yards per game and scoring. They hope Thompson can help, providing them with someone who can score anytime he touches the ball.
“He’s a very explosive player,” Gruden said. “Sometimes he’s forced to block a defensive lineman, and sometimes he’s forced to block a defensive back, but the recognition of the fronts and the blitzes, he’s very good at. Then we can get him outside and work him in the screens and work him on some options routes, so he’s very important. He’s a guy that’s a valuable asset to this football team.”
Thompson said for several weeks he struggled to sleep at night. He couldn’t sit for long stretches in a chair or stand for long periods because of the pain. Laughing and sneezing hurt. He might have returned had Washington played its last game on a Sunday rather than on Thanksgiving Day. But that extra time gave him more ability to heal.
“It’s more a mental thing, and right now I’m mentally past that point,” Thompson said. “I could feel a difference between weeks two and three, and from three to four it felt even better.”