Gruden: Josh Doctson could play Week 1, but now Jamison Crowder is hurting

One Washington wide receiver may be close to returning, but another one could be taking his place on the sidelines.

The Washington Redskins are finally getting good news on the Josh Doctson injury front. The first-round pick has been sidelined since late May due to an Achilles injury that put his Week 1 status in jeopardy. Luckily for the Burgundy and Gold, the TCU product will probably avoid starting the regular season on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he has increased his work in practice.

"I don’t think so," head coach Jay Gruden responded to Doctson potentially starting the season on the PUP list. "I don’t know yet. This is an injury, like I’ve said before, it’s a unique deal. I think it’s just something that he’s going to have to work through."

Despite the limited optimism from Gruden early in his answer, he displayed more hope by the end.

"He did the route tree today," Gruden said, "which is very positive. Not 100 percent yet, obviously – he’s not running full-speed -- but he’s doing a lot more now than he did a week ago, which the progress that we see is a very, very good sign for us."

The Washington head coach went so far as to say Doctson could be ready to go in one week's time, which would line up with a previous report.

"I have total expectation that he’s going to be ready Week 1," Gruden shared. "Possibly the fourth preseason game, but we’ll still see.”

The excitement over Doctson's return is short-lived, however, with slot man Jamison Crowder again sidelined during practice.

Crowder is dealing with a sore knee and will have to rehab the joint. The Duke product sustained the injury last Friday against the New York Jets and his status for the regular season dress rehearsal this week against Buffalo is up in the air.

"It’s part of the process," Gruden explained. "He has a little sore knee and he’s just going through the rehab. We’ll see if he’s ready for Friday or not. I don’t know yet.”

The shifty receiver missed the preseason opener against the Falcons because of a hamstring injury.

While Doctson returning to the lineup would be a positive, losing Crowder is of greater significance to Washington's passing attack. Doctson was not expected to play major minutes on the outside this season with Pierre Garcon ahead of him on the depth chart. Crowder's absence forces Ryan Grant, a 2014 fifth-round pick, to step up. Grant just recently began taking major reps in the slot this offseason.

The Redskins must hope Crowder's "little" injury is just that. Otherwise, the team would lose a major weapon in its plans to expose an untested Pittsburgh secondary on Sept. 12.

Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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