- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2017

ASHBURN — Redskins cornerback Josh Norman hit the weight room for the first time Thursday since fracturing his rib in the first half of the Redskins’ 29-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 2.

That’s progress.

“It was awesome,” Norman said. “It was [expletive] awesome. From doing nothing to doing something, I needed that juice.”

Norman said he mostly focused on lower body workouts to get back in shape, mixing in 10 sets of arm curls.

Norman has not been officially ruled out for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, but said he isn’t running yet — the clearest indication he won’t play. The cornerback has missed all of practice this week.

“I can’t even jog right now,” Norman said, laughing. “So, we’re going to take that step next week.”

The initial timeframe for Norman’s injury was 2-4 weeks. Norman sent out a tweet last Friday that said, “#FREE!! But 4weeks-fml.”

Norman said he feels slightly better and could return sooner.

“Who knows? It may not [be four weeks],” he said. “Today was a good day.”

In Norman’s absence, the Redskins will rely on cornerback Quinton Dunbar as the starter opposite cornerback Bashaud Breeland. Breeland will take Norman’s right side of the field while Dunbar takes the left.

A third-year pro, Dunbar made the switch from wide receiver to cornerback as a rookie in 2015. In the three seasons since, Dunbar has played in the slot and on the outside.

“He just loves playing football, he loves to compete,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “Man, he thinks he can cover anybody, anytime, anywhere. And that’s a great mentality to have as a corner and that’s the way he feels. … He’s got a short memory. If he does get beat, he’ll come right back up and play bump and run and cover you. We’re excited to watch him play.”

Rookie cornerback Fabian Moreau could also see additional playing time, but Dunbar will start.

Meanwhile, linebacker Zach Brown returned to practice Thursday after missing Monday and Wednesday with an illness. Brown is expected to play Sunday.

Safety D.J. Swearinger remains limited with a hamstring injury.

In addition to Norman, tackle Trent Williams (knee), Rob Kelley (ankle), safety Deshazor Everett (hamstring) and tackle Ty Nsekhe (core muscle) did not participate Thursday. Gruden said Nsekhe, who had core muscle surgery on Sept. 28, could be back for next week’s game in Philadelphia.

If Williams doesn’t play, tackle T.J. Clemmings will start.

“[Clemmings] hasn’t had a lot of work with Kirk [Cousins] as far as cadence, rhythm of the game, protections, all that stuff,” Gruden said. “This is new to him, he just got here a few weeks ago so it’s really good to get him schooled with Ty Nsekhe being out also. We have to get him up to speed and it’s been a great couple days for him. He’s doing a much better job.”

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