RICHMOND — When Jay Gruden announced that Shawn Lauvao was going to begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list, he said he would be “shocked” if the Washington Redskins’ left guard, who had five surgeries on his feet and legs in the offseason, wasn’t back by Monday.
Gruden was right. Lauvao sat out the team’s morning walkthrough but returned to participate in the team’s practice, working with both the first and second string during team drills.
“We’re fired up to see ol’ Shawny out there again,” Gruden said before Monday’s session.
The Redskins’ 6-foot-3, 326-pound guard was just as excited to be back on the field. Lauvao sustained a lateral fracture in his left leg in Week 3 against the New York Giants last season and was placed on injured reserve. By the time the Redskins were eliminated by the Green Bay Packers in the wild-card round in January, Lauvao had undergone five total surgeries to clean up myriad ailments in his feet and legs.
In his return to practice, Lauvao appeared to be moving well. During individual pass rushing drills, Lauvao took turns blocking defensive ends Ricky Jean Francois and Stephen Paea. In team drills, Lauvao rotated with left guard Spencer Long, who filled in for Lauvao last season and performed well. At times, Long slid over to center in place of Kory Lichtensteiger and Lauvao remained at left guard.
“The one thing I said before, there are certain obstacles,” Lauvao said when asked how difficult the recovery process was. “In the midst of that, those things make you stronger. You might get broken, but you put yourself back together. The staff has been phenomenal. It means a lot, and I’m just glad to be out there. I think for the first time, it’s hard to play this game pain free. But I feel good. They threw me into the fire. Sink or swim.”
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Lauvao and Long are expected to battle for the starting position throughout training camp. Often, Gruden has mentioned how well Lauvao was playing before he was injured last season. Yet, the team also liked the way Long responded in his absence and Gruden said the job will not be handed back to Lauvao.
“He’s going to have to come out and earn it,” Gruden said. “It’ll be a good battle.”
No timetable for Doctson
First-round pick Josh Doctson remained on the physically unable to perform list as the Redskins began their first full week of training camp on Monday. Doctson, who strained his left Achilles tendon in rookie minicamp, aggravated the injury in the first week of organized team activities in the spring and has not returned to the field since.
“I don’t have any timeline really, or update,” Gruden said. “He’s still in the rehab position and he’s trying to get it stronger and we’re taking it slow, but I don’t have any idea as of now.”