The Washington Times - August 23, 2012, 01:43PM

Tim Hightower didn’t know exactly what to say. He felt fine three months ago, despite the long time line it was expected for the Washington Redskins running back to fully recover from a torn ACL in his left knee.

He practiced this week but getting into Saturday’s preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts was still a question mark.


“I was planning to play. That’s a tricky question. Let me see,” he said. “Let me give a non-political as honest answer as I can give you: Do I expect to play? Yeah, I expect to play. I always expect to play. I hope so. I really do hope so.”

Coach Mike Shanahan then confirmed that, barring a setback, Hightower will see his first game action this season Saturday. The final decision will be made before the game, but systems are go as of Thursday afternoon.

“We allowed him to go full-speed this week. He started out on the scout team, and he did a good job making different cuts and it looked like he was going full speed,” Shanahan said. “[Wednesday] he even looked better and there was no setback. So he’s ready to go.”

Shanahan said Hightower won’t start but will get some playing time vs. Indianapolis. Running backs Roy Helu (Achilles tendons) and Evan Royster (right knee) are out. Rookie Alfred Morris could again see the bulk of the early carries.

Royster was injured in practice a couple of days ago, Shanahan said.

“I’m not sure what happened. He said it didn’t bother him at all in practice and he got up and it bothered him. That’s why he wasn’t able to go [Wednesday],” the Redskins’ coach said. “Not really sure what it was, but it’s quite sore.”

Hightower, who had surgery to repair the torn ACL last fall, felt better Thursday than in previous days.

“It’s been a roller coaster. You really wake up each day, you don’t know how you’re going to feel,” he said. “My mind is ready to practice, to play, to do everything. But you just kind of take it day to day. This morning I woke up, I felt great. That was definitely a big step.”