September 05, 2016

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Matt Jones slipped on a yellow non-contact jersey at the Washington Redskins' Monday morning practice as a precaution for the starting running back's separated left shoulder, though he was not happy about wearing it.

Jones, the second-year pro expected to start for the Redskins this season, is adamant that he will be ready Monday night when Washington hosts the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season opener for both teams.

''They gave me this yellow jersey today just to be a little cautious,'' Jones said. ''But next practice I'll be out here full go. I feel great about everything - pass blocking, taking a hit, giving a hit. I'm just ready to be back out there.''

Jones was on the field after practice holding a blocking pad while teammate Chris Thompson repeatedly smacked into the pad. It was the first time Jones had joined his teammates on the practice field since sustaining a slight separation of the AC joint in his left shoulder during an Aug. 19 preseason game against the New York Jets.

The team is optimistic enough that Jones can play in the Steelers game that it kept just three running backs on the roster after Saturday's initial cuts. Thompson and undrafted rookie free agent Robert Kelley were the others, while second-year player Mack Brown was cut and signed to the practice squad.

''That's the intent right now,'' Washington coach Jay Gruden said of Jones playing against the Steelers. ''We're just bringing him along. It's going to be interesting to see how he does Wednesday and Thursday. ... That will tell a lot.''

The Redskins also welcomed back rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson, who practiced Sunday for the first time since organized team activities on May 25 and was in shoulder pads for the first time Monday. A sore left Achilles tendon has bothered Doctson all offseason.

Washington's first-round pick in 2016, No. 22 overall, Doctson was removed from the physically unable to perform list Saturday, but his status for the Steelers game remains in doubt.

''I'm not going to step foot on (the field) Monday night, put the uniform on, run out there and get myself embarrassed,'' Doctson said. ''We've got guys who are going to get it done. If somebody gets tired I'm going to go in there and help out. That's my position now.''

Gruden said Doctson went through individual drills on Monday and did some team drills, too. But the coach also wasn't ready to say Doctson will be active against Pittsburgh. His Achilles tendon didn't respond after a month off between minicamp ending in mid-June and training camp beginning in late July.

Trepidation remains that Doctson could suffer a setback.

''The big thing is the more we push him, we've got to see how he recovers the next day,'' Gruden said. ''Tuesday will be a big day for him. They're off, but we'll see how he's doing and push him again Wednesday and see where he's at both physically and mentally. Then we'll make a decision later in the week.''

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