- The Washington Times - Monday, September 9, 2019

ASHBURN — Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice underwent an MRI after experiencing knee soreness after Sunday’s 32-27 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles. It is unclear if the injury will require the 22-year-old to miss time, though it remains a possibility.

Guice, who had 10 carries for 18 yards against the Eagles, felt discomfort in his right knee on the team bus following the game, coach Jay Gruden said Monday. Gruden left open the possibility of Guice playing in next week’s home opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

Guice’s injury, however, is not to the same knee in which the running back tore his ACL last season. The 2018 second-rounder spent all of last offseason rehabbing from a torn ACL, finally being cleared for contact in Week 3 of the preseason.

If Guice can’t go, Adrian Peterson will take over as the Redskins’ lead back once again after the 34-year-old was inactive in Week 1.

“I have no problem with that,” Gruden said. “We’ll find out what happens though. We’re going to check this MRI out. We’re hopeful and there’s a chance they could both be up this week. We’ll make that determination later.”



Guice seemed to be in an upbeat mood when talking to reporters following Sunday’s loss. At one point during the game, the running back went into the team’s medical tent in the second quarter, but later said he went because “nature called.” Guice returned to the field on the next possession.

Gruden said Monday that Guice was evaluated for an in-game injury and was cleared to return.

In total, the running back played 24 snaps. Gruden said that was based on the flow of the game, noting the Redskins struggled to run the ball.

Last week, Gruden had expressed great confidence in Guice — telling reporters the offense would “go through” the LSU product in terms of carries. 

The Redskins felt Guice had returned to form following his ACL tear and Gruden then made the choice to keep Peterson inactive in Philadelphia, partially because of the veteran’s inability to play special teams.

Gruden’s decision, however, proved to be controversial within the Redskins’ locker room. In a radio interview Monday, right tackle Morgan Moses called the benching a “slap in the face,” adding he plans to talk to his coaches about it. Running back Chris Thompson told reporters, “I think that one decision just changed everything for a lot of people,” though he noted it didn’t change anything for him.

Asked about Moses’ comments, Gruden again defended sitting Peterson, citing the team’s needs for help on special teams.

Gruden said he “for sure” wants Peterson to remain on the Redskins. He repeatedly mentioned Peterson could be active at some point this season, even as soon as next week.

“We have 15 games left,” Gruden said. “There’s a lot of the season left. I expect Adrian Peterson to play and play well when he does play. It could be this week. And Adrian is ready to go. He’s got a great attitude about it. I know he’s not happy about it, but when his number is called, he’ll be ready to go.

“And his number will be called.”

Peterson’s number, of course, could be called against Dallas if Guice isn’t healthy enough to play. Guice’s injury also prompts more questions. Namely, can the running back handle a full workload as the Redskins want him to do? Will this injury, should he miss time, make them reconsider?

Gruden said the Redskins will make those decisions once learning Guice’s MRI results.

“The whole point of having one lead down back is making sure that guy can handle the carries,” Gruden said. “If he can’t handle all the carries, then you’ve got to have two. And so, that could alter your plans a little bit. So we’ll make adjustments as need be. Fortunately, we have AP in the building.

“Hopefully, Guice will be OK. We’ll make that tough decision when it needs to be made.”

 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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