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Mike Shanahan: Neither Injured Running Back Could Play Right Now

By ZAC BOYER

zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – Tim Hightower returned to practicing with the Washington Redskins on Wednesday after missing the previous day because of personal reasons, though his availability Saturday against Indianapolis is uncertain.

Hightower

Head coach Mike Shanahan said it was the first day in which Hightower “actually had contact and ran with our first-, second-, third-team offense and ran our plays.”

“He’s made some strides, but it’s really hard to tell until he goes full-speed,” Shanahan said. “Once you put the pads on, it’s different than doing it in shorts. I think [Thursday] will be a good indication of how he feels.”

Hightower tore the ACL in his left knee midway through last season and has been gradually eased back into practice, with Saturday’s game originally targeted as a preseason debut for the running back.

Roy Helu is also experiencing tendinitis in both of his Achilles, and Shanahan said neither running back could play right now.

The head coach is unlikely to play any of his starters against Tampa Bay in the final preseason game on Aug. 29, but he suggested earlier in the week fullback Darrel Young may do so because he didn’t play in the first two games after straining his left hamstring.

That could mean Hightower and Helu play against the Buccaneers, or that their first game is Sept. 9 at New Orleans in the season opener.

“They could be fine by the first game,” Shanahan said. “We’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

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