ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. received medical clearance to return to practice this week, coach Ron Rivera said Monday — more than a month after the rookie was shot twice in an armed robbery attempt.
Rivera said there’s a “very promising” chance the 23-year-old will be able to play next Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, but the team needs to first see how Robinson responds in practice. Once Robinson returns to practice Wednesday, the Commanders will have up to 21 days to evaluate the rookie before they have to decide whether to activate him off the non-football injury list. If he is activated, the Commanders will have to clear a roster spot. If he‘s not ready in those three weeks, then he‘ll be done for the season.
But the expectation, Rivera said, is that Robinson will be able to practice without limits— creating an opportunity for Robinson to come back as soon as Sunday.
The rookie had to miss a minimum of four games after he was placed on NFI.
“I’m optimistic about it,” Rivera said when asked if Robinson will make his debut against the Titans. “Just in listening to everything I’ve heard (from the doctors), it’s very promising. But again, as I said, the plan is to start his clock on Wednesday and see how he does. If he continues to progress, there’s a very good chance he‘ll be able to play on Sunday.”
Robinson‘s return should help boost a flailing Washington offense. The third-rounder out of Alabama appeared poised to win the team’s starting running back job before being shot in late August. Robinson brings a physical running style and can bully his way up the middle, something that Washington has struggled to do through the first four games.
That Robinson is already to practice is remarkable given that he was shot twice on Aug. 23 when two teenage boys confronted him on the 1000 block of H Street NE in the District. Robinson was able to wrestle away a gun from one of his attackers, but was shot by the other. The wounds required surgery, but Rivera said then that Robinson was “very fortunate” to avoid serious injury.
Robinson returned to the team’s facility just days after the incident. He started on-field workouts on Sept. 14 and began running routes before games in Week 3.
“It’s hopefully going to be a shot in the arm,” Rivera said of Robinson‘s pending return. “Hopefully we can get what we were expecting to get, and that’s the other quality running back that we were looking for.”