ASHBURN, VA—With the exception of Jarvis Jenkins and a pair of safeties, the Washington Redskins seem to be getting healthier as they head into the regular season.
A bevvy of injured players have returned or are expected to return in time for the team's final preseason contest against on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Included in that group are three key players who should have an immediate impact on the team.
Kick returner Brandon Banks is among the Redskins poised to make a return in the near future.
The second-year speedster has been sidelined for the better part of two weeks as he continues to heal a left knee injury that has plagued him for the duration of the preseason. Banks underwent knee surgery mid-season in 2010 and is still trying to find his way all the way back.
“Banks looked better and I think he will be able to go tomorrow," head coach Mike Shanahan stated in practice on Saturday. "Hopefully, when he tests his knee, it won’t swell up again."
Also returning is running back Ryan Torain, who missed the last 24 days with a hand fracture.
The injury cost him the opportunity to compete for the starting running back job, which has all but been awarded to Tim Hightower.
Adam Carriker returned to practice on Saturday after he was sidelined for two weeks with what was described as blisters on his feet.
The defensive end's return comes at an opportune time with Jenkins being lost for the season with a torn ACL. It was thought the rookie may have done enough to take over the starting spot from Carriker, but that appears to be moot.
There is a chance the team will explore other options at defensive end, but Doug Worthington will get increased opportunity in the meantime.
Although not part of the "key three," linebacker Edgar Jones should also return in time for the preseason finale against the Buccaneers after he sustained a concussion against the Indianapolis Colts.
Offensive lineman Maurice Hurt is also expected to be back in the near future.
Among the bigger question marks for the time being are safeties LaRon Landry and Kareem Moore.
Landry remains day-to-day with a hamstring injury. Head coach Mike Shanahan doesn't seem interested in rushing him back.
"You sure would like him to be able to play in that last preseason game to get some reps, especially when he missed the second half of the season,” said head coach Mike Shanahan. “Does he have to? No, but it would sure help.”
The same goes for Moore who may wind up on the PUP list before the start of the regular season. If so, he will miss the first six weeks of the year.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Malcolm Kelly's days with the Redskins appear to be drawing to a close without the opportunity for him to return to the field.
Kelly has been sidelined for the duration of training camp.
“I would say it doesn’t look good,” Shanahan said.