After missing the last four games with a hamstring injury, DeSean Jackson was in pads to start the week of practice Wednesday and is hopeful to return Sunday against the Jets.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson didn't want to declare anything about his health status on Wednesday, but after flirting with a return to the field throughout last week, he feels hopeful he'll make the trip to New York to face the Jets on Sunday.
Jackson injured his left hamstring on the second offensive drive of the season opener against the Dolphins and didn't begin practicing with the team again until one week ago.
"I'm pretty good," Jackson said. "I feel like I'm at a good rate where I can go out and get some good work in. Hopefully throughout the week I get better and I can play this weekend."
Jackson wore pads during the team's first practice of the week and participated in both individual and some team drills, in which he ran a few deep routes. Head coach Jay Gruden said Jackson has yet to turn on the "absolute gas."
"We need him at 100 percent. The way he plays, he needs to be 100 percent. He's not good to us at 65 percent. He knows that," Gruden said. "I think he's very, very close and if it's not this Sunday, it will definitely be next weekend."
Gruden noted that Jackson has been on top of his recovery, which has included ultrasounds, rehab and the limited sessions he's had on the field, working with the trainers and receiving daily treatments.
"With hamstrings, you've got to work it, then you've got to recover, rehab it, come out again tomorrow, see if he improves, see if he has any negative effects from the work today," Gruden said. "We'll go from there. If not, we'll keep progressing him…it takes time."
Jackson admitted it has been frustrating to deal with this specific type of injury, which tests a player's patience. The hamstring can still be fragile even as it heals, which prevents exercising its full capabilities without the risk of injuring it again.
Wide receiver Rashad Ross, who has occasionally provided the deep threat that's been missing in the Redskins' offense, knows the kind of struggle Jackson has gone through. As a sprinter in his junior year at Arizona State, Ross pulled his hamstring and remembered the type of pain associated with that type of injury.
"It just feels weak, like you can't really go, full-go," Ross said. "[It's] like your legs won't let you go full-go."
Check out these photos of the Redskins' offense preparing for their Week 6 match up against the New York Jets Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
For what it's worth, Ross said Jackson told him Wednesday on the field that "he's ready" for Sunday.
"I want to do whatever I can to get my body healthy," Jackson said. "Anything I can do to better myself and get back out there. You got to do what you can to be able to get your work in. So that's where I feel I'm at that point now, where I can go out there and get things done. So we'll see how the week goes."
If he indeed feels ready to strap up, his return won't come without its challenges.
The Jets boast one of, if not the, top cornerbacks in the league in Darrelle Revis (9 tackles, 2 interceptions this season), who should give wide receivers a difficult, physical task in front of them.
Jackson, understandably, enjoys those types of challenges, especially when they come against the league's elite players.
"You know, he's a veteran of this league. We've played against each other a lot. He's a good corner. He's physical and plays at a high level," Jackson said. "So playing against guys like that takes my game to the next level. You've got to account for him. You can't shy away from him and you have to go after him. So I'm sure we'll go at him, take our chances, and hopefully come out on top at the end."