- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Redskins running back Chris Thompson returned to practice Wednesday afternoon and said his sprained right ankle is “feeling a whole lot better.”

Thompson sustained the injury in Washington’s first preseason game against the Patriots on Aug. 7 and had been out since. The second-year player said his availability for Saturday’s game against the Ravens will depend on how he feels this week, and ultimately will be decided by the coaching staff.

“It’s very frustrating,” Thompson said of the injury. “Throughout training camp, I was doing so good. Everything seemed to be going in the right direction. … [Now I’ve] just been working every single day, just trying to get back.”

A fifth-round draft pick out of Florida State, Thompson signed a four-year contract in 2013 but has yet to show the Redskins that he can be a durable backup behind Alfred Morris and Roy Helu. A torn labrum ended Thompson’s rookie season, and the ankle has limited his opportunities this preseason.

Coach Jay Gruden said Thompson only participated in individual drills on Wednesday.

“He still looked a little tentative on [the ankle], but he was doing it, which is a good start,” Gruden said. “But he’s still got a little ways to go.” 

SEE ALSO: Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will continue to work on sliding

Thompson didn’t play in Monday night’s game against the Browns. Fortunately for him, the other running backs competing for backup roles did not do much to stand out. Lache Seastrunk, a rookie from Baylor, led all backs with 35 yards on seven attempts. Fellow rookie Silas Redd had five rushes for 19 yards, and Evan Royster had only one carry: a two-yard touchdown run.

Thompson knows he needs to get back on the field to make a positive impression on the coaching staff, but he also doesn’t want to return too quickly, before he is completely healthy.

“I mean, of course I am concerned, to be honest with you,” Thompson said. “I want to be out there. I just know that physically, I can’t right now. Everything else is just pretty much out of my control.”

More injury updates

Defensive lineman Jason Hatcher also took a step forward in his rehabilitation Wednesday, participating in a full practice with the Redskins for the first time.

After signing a four-year, $27.5 million contract in March, Hatcher underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on his left knee. He is expected to play against the Ravens on Saturday.

“I feel great, man,” Hatcher said. “I moved great. I got my speed, my quickness back, my strength back. Now all I’ve got to do is go out there [Saturday] and try to play my best.” 

In other injury news, defensive lineman Barry Cofield missed practice with a groin injury but “he’s going to be OK,” according to Gruden. Tracy Porter also sat out with because of a hamstring injury.

“It looks like it’s a mild one,” Gruden said, “but he’s probably questionable to doubtful for the game [Saturday].”

Linebacker Darryl Sharpton remains sidelined with a high ankle sprain.

One punter in, one out

The Redskins released punter Blake Clingan and claimed punter Tress Way off waivers from the Bears.

Clingan, a Central Florida product, took a step back in the punting competition on Monday against the Browns, when his only punt of the game traveled a mere 34 yards.

Robert Malone, the favorite to win the punting job, said he is focused only on his own production.

“I just continue to grow every day,” Malone said. “I come out here and I try to work on everything I can. I take what I’ve done wrong in the past and try to fix it that day.”

• Tom Schad can be reached at tschad@washingtontimes.com.

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