- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2018

ASHBURN — Jordan Reed is healthy and ready for Sunday’s matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Wednesday he expects the tight end to play “quite a bit” in Week 1 after Reed was held out all preseason as part of an organized recovery plan. Last year, Reed dealt with nagging toe pain all season, appearing in just six games. The toe pain hampered his ability to run and Reed suffered a season-ending hamstring injury in October against the Dallas Cowboys.

But with the pain now mostly gone, the Redskins will work Reed back into the fold.

“I think the rep count will vary,” Gruden said. “You know, we have two other very good tight ends I feel good about. ‘Sprink’ [Jeremy Sprinkle], who’s had a big-time preseason and obviously Vernon Davis, so we have a pretty good package of tight ends there and other receivers. We can go three tight ends, or three receivers-one tight end. We have a lot in the package. We can give them a blow but I expect [Reed] to play quite a bit.”

To help cure the problem, Reed had two separate surgeries to remove the sesamoid bone in each big toe. The operations, though, caused Reed to miss all of OTAs and he was incorporated slowly into training camp.

Reed has increased his workload as the weeks have gone on, but said Wednesday he expects to be “full go.” He was not listed on the team’s injury report.

“I’ve been testing it every day, I practice,” Reed said of his toes. “It’s getting better every week. It’s just getting better.”

The Redskins will gladly take their athletic tight end back at full strength. In the 52 games Reed played his career, Washington’s offense has averaged 377.7 yards per game. That number, though, dips to 333 yards per game in the 28 games Reed has missed.

Since being drafted in 2013, Reed has never played a full 16-game slate in the NFL. His most productive year — 87 receptions for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015 — coincided with Reed appearing in a career-high 14 games.

Asked if he could withstand a 16-game season, Reed said “definitely.”

“I feel really good about my body and where it’s at right now,” Reed said. “I feel really balanced and strong on both sides of my body. That’s one thing that hasn’t been there in the past. I’m excited about that.”

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