Nine months ago Monday, a severe knee injury ended Carlos Rogers‘ 2007 season. Tuesday, he took part in the 11-on-11 portion of practice for the first time - another step in his path to returning.
Rogers has practiced every day in camp, but lining up opposite wide receivers Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El at full speed wasn’t allowed before Tuesday.
“It felt pretty good. I didn’t have any swelling or nothing,” Rogers said. “I wasn’t even thinking about my knee when I was out there. I wasn’t even supposed to be practicing yet, but I did everything they did. I’ve been bugging [the coaches] to let me get out there.”
Added wideout James Thrash: “I thought Carlos looked good. He was moving well. If you didn’t know he had a knee [injury], you wouldn’t know by watching him.”
Rogers tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee in a 52-7 loss at New England on Oct. 28 and had surgery in November. He had targeted the Sept. 4 regular-season opener at the New York Giants for his return, while coach Jim Zorn estimated late September or early October.
He has been ahead of schedule for quite some time - he wasn’t expected to practice when camp began last weekend.
“I’m not going to play on Sunday [against the Indianapolis Colts] but hopefully sometime in preseason,” Rogers said. “I’m going to practice this afternoon, and we’ll see how the knee responds.”
Added secondary coach Jerry Gray: “We’re kind of feeling it out and seeing what he can actually do and how it’s going to bounce back, how the knee is going to react - those are the kinds of things that we are looking at. I think if we just stay on target and don’t push it, he’ll be fine.”
Second-round pick Malcolm Kelly returned to practice and participated in a few individual drills. The 6-foot-4 wide receiver hadn’t practiced since injuring his hamstring Friday.
Zorn didn’t rule out Kelly for Sunday’s preseason opener against the Colts.
“It felt pretty good,” Kelly said. “It is really just a matter of the swelling and inflammation coming out of it. It isn’t something where it is really hurts. It is just more like it’s weak.”
Sixth-round choice Kareem Moore returned in the morning after missing a week because of swelling in his knee. Moore, a safety from Nicholls State, had arthroscopic knee surgery shortly after the Redskins drafted him in April and couldn’t take part in offseason practices.
Washington released defensive tackle Zarnell Fitch after just two days in camp. The 6-3, 320-pound free agent, who has played on practice squads for the Jets and Ravens, replaced defensive lineman J.T. Mapu.
Babatunde Oshinowo, a 6-1, 325-pound defensive tackle from Stanford whom the Cleveland Browns drafted in the sixth round in 2006, replaces Fitch on the roster. Oshinowo was on the Browns’ 53-man roster for three games in 2006 and with the Bears for three games in 2007.
Linebacker H.B. Blades had surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee. The injury occurred during practice Monday. Zorn expects Blades to be out for four weeks.
Running back Eric Shelton wasn’t on the field with the other injured players for a second straight day. Zorn said Shelton is experiencing numbness in his hands and legs stemming from a neck injury.
Offensive lineman Jason Fabini left the morning session early because of illness. Zorn said he vomited in the huddle and was dehydrated before he was excused. He didn’t return for the afternoon session.