RICHMOND — Early in Wednesday morning’s walkthrough, the horde of fans lining the practice field let out a collective groan.
Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson swatted down a pass in his direction, hobbling off the field while favoring his left ankle. And for the second time in three days, new coach Jay Gruden could only watch as one of his starting wideouts left practice with an injury.
Jackson later walked off the field with his ankle wrapped in white tape, watched part of practice from the trainers’ table and did not return. Gruden said the team’s star offseason acquisition was cleated by a Patriots defensive back and “twisted his ankle just a hair.”
Gruden said there is a possibility Jackson will not play in Thursday night’s preseason opener, depending on how the receiver’s treatment goes. Washington’s other starting wideout, Pierre Garcon, definitely will not play against the Patriots after missing a second straight practice with a strained hamstring.
Safeties Phillip Thomas and Ryan Clark also will sit out the Redskins’ first preseason game because of hamstring injuries sustained in the past three days, when Washington has participated in a series of joint practices with New England.
While Wednesday’s walkthrough was slow and straightforward, the joint workouts on the whole have been more intense than typical intrasquad work. Tuesday’s practice lasted more than three hours and included several full contact drills, some featuring game-caliber hits.
However, Gruden said the nature of the joint practices is not to blame for any of Washington’s injuries.
“DeSean just had a fluke thing today in a walkthrough, which we have walkthroughs all the time,” Gruden said. “The guy stepped on his foot, so it was a fluke. Everybody else, [having joint practices] was a great experience, I think, for everybody.”
In other injury news, Gruden said Jason Hatcher is progressing well and “very close” to rejoining the team in practice. The first-year coach pointed to Washington’s third preseason game in Baltimore as the target date for Hatcher’s return.