Head Coach Jay Gruden Optimistic Derrius Guice Will Play Before Week 1

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A year after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, running back Derrius Guice has yet to be cleared for game action.

But with two games left in the preseason, head coach Jay Gruden "feels pretty confident that he's got a chance to go," before the team opens the 2019 campaign in Philadelphia on Sept. 8.

"It's important for him to get a couple carries, just get a feel of getting tackled again. I'd love to see that happen," Gruden told reporters after practice Tuesday. "Coming off an injury, I don't want the first carry for him to be against Philadelphia, really. I'd like to get him a couple carries, get a little sweat going, feel the contact and get used to being taken to the ground, protecting the football.”

Guice tore his ACL in last year's preseason opener and was subsequently placed on Injured Reserve, robbing him of his entire rookie campaign. He's since endured an arduous rehabilitation process that included multiple setbacks. "It's the hardest thing I've ever had to go through," Guice told reporters in July.

However, after missing OTAs and minicamp, Guice was in uniform for the start of training camp. His workload increased throughout his time in Richmond, and he's continued to progress since the team returned to Redskins Park. All the while, Guice has showcased the unique skillset that prompted the Redskins to use a second-round pick on him in 2018.

"I'm excited for Guice to finally get some time and show the people what he can do," fellow running back Chris Thompson said after practice Sunday. "We know what he can do -- we've been seeing it every single day -- but I feel like he's definitely going to help our offense out a whole lot as well."

When exactly Guice plays remains to be seen. Gruden has been pleased with his young back thus far -- specifically his speed, agility, pass-catching and pass-blocking -- but until the doctors and trainers issue a full clearance, Guice will remain on the sidelines. The Redskins play their third preseason game in Atlanta on Thursday and return home for the preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens on Aug. 29.

What Redskins fans can expect is to have Guice back soon. And when he returns to the field, more than a year after a serious injury, he'll provide Washington with another dynamic rusher in a position group full of them.

"I'm excited," Guice said. "I'm ready for football, man."

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