- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

In and out of Redskins Park for the better part of the past three weeks, Barry Cofield has had a chance to interact with his teammates frequently while rehabilitating a high right ankle sprain.

The hardest part, he said, has been not being able to join them on the field during games as the Washington Redskins have sputtered to losses in three of their first four games.

“Absolutely,” Cofield said Tuesday, emphasizing his plight.

Cofield, in his ninth season, had never before sustained any major injury, playing in all but one game since entering the league with the New York Giants in 2006. That streak ended in the Redskins’ season opener at Houston on Sept. 7, when, in the first quarter, a player landed on his right leg when he was engaged with Texans left tackle Duane Brown.

The Redskins placed Cofield on injured reserve two days later, but gave him the “designated to return” label afforded to one player per team each season.

That means that Cofield will be able to return to practice six weeks from the date he was placed on injured reserve, and play in a game eight weeks after it, meaning he could be eligible to play in any games beginning in Week 10 — though that’s the Redskins’ bye week.

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Cofield, then, will have an extra week to prepare, leaving the Nov. 16 game against Tampa Bay as his likely return. In his absence, Chris Baker has shifted from defensive end to nose tackle, and he logged a career-high 55 snaps in Washington’s loss to the Giants on Thursday.

“You get down at times, but you’ve just got to think, ‘I’ve been lucky,’” Cofield said. “I’ve been lucky that it’s been this long before somebody fell on my legs. That’s the norm in this league, so you know, I’m just taking it in stride, and I’ll come back in the second half of the season the freshest person on the field.”

Speaking in the Redskins’ locker room Tuesday, Cofield did not have a cast or even a walking boot on his right ankle. The typical recovery period for such an injury fluctuates, but Cofield said he’s considered to be on schedule and is trying to “just be smart with it.”

That’s easy for Cofield to do, considering that even if he wanted to try to return early from the injury, league rules wouldn’t allow it, anyway.

“You don’t have to rush,” Cofield said. “It’s a good thing. At the same time, you want to get back. If you feel like you can get back in six weeks instead of eight, at that time, you won’t be happy [sitting out], but at the same time, it’s good that you won’t have to rush it. The team made the decision.”

• Zac Boyer can be reached at zboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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