- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 14, 2018

LANDOVER — Adrian Peterson did his best to hide the pain from Redskins teammates and coaches this week. Nursing shoulder, knee and ankle injuries, the 33-year-old running back went through practice as he normally does, doing his job.

But teammate and friend Trent Williams could tell Peterson was hurting.

“He continues to strap it up and give it everything he got,” Williams said. “You’ve got to a respect a man like that.”

Peterson earned his teammates’ respect, again, on Sunday. The former MVP ran for 97 yards in Washington’s 23-17 over the Carolina Panthers — and was often the focal point of the team’s offense.

In five games this season, Peterson has become the Redskins’ barometer: When he runs well, they win. When he doesn’t, they lose.

Against the Panthers, Peterson averaged 5.7 yards per carry. The previous week, in a blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints, Peterson finished with just six yards total on four attempts.

The difference, Peterson said, starts up front.

“Guys came out with a chip on their shoulder and you could see that and you’ll be able to see it when you watch this game back,” Peterson said. “The guys came back and established the front, frontline.”

Peterson had been listed as questionable before kickoff, but admitted he knew by Friday he would suit up and play through the pain.

Peterson, though, said he prayed “a lot” to help get through the week.

Peterson said he had to pop his dislocated shoulder, suffered when he was hit at the end of the first half against the Saints, back in himself after the game.

He also hyper-extended his knee on the second play in New Orleans, and ended up playing only 13 snaps, a season low, in the Monday nighter.

He didn’t look hurt, though, on Sunday.

He ran with the same explosiveness and burst that anchored the Redskins’ two prior victories.

In wins, Peterson has averaged 104 yards per game on 20.6 carries.

In losses, that number drops to 13 yards per game on 7.5 attempts.

Adrian, I can’t say enough about what he did today, playing through the pain of the shoulder and the knee,” coach Jay Gruden said. “What a pro, I mean what a pro he is.”

Peterson’s injuries are expected to bother him for the next several weeks, according to multiple reports. But like Sunday, Peterson is expected to play, barring a setback.

Peterson hasn’t played a full 16-game slate since the 2015 season. In 2017, his year ended after he suffered a neck injury in November and the year before that, he appeared in just three games before tearing his meniscus.

Peterson’s health was a reason some were skeptical he would be successful with Washington after the Redskins signed him in late August.

But the running back has said repeatedly he wants to prove his doubters wrong.

So, if he has to play through three injuries to do it, then it appears Peterson is determined to play.

“I know what he’s made of,” Williams said, “but still running the ball with a shoulder that continues to [hurt], that’s hard for anybody to deal with.”

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