Right tackle Jon Jansen said recently that his rehab from his ruptured Achilles injury is "right on schedule" and that he expects to be on the practice fields by the team's first off-season mini-camp in early May.
Team officials said earlier this week that Jansen still has some rehabilitation work to complete, but it was agreed he would be ready by the first mini-camp.
Said Jansen: "I should be fine by the end of January or beginning of February. Mini-camp in April shouldn't be any issue at all."
Jansen suffered his injury in the Redskins' first pre-season game, the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio against the Denver Broncos. He was placed on injured reserve shortly thereafter.
Since then, Jansen has been regularly at Redskins Park, rehabilitating his Achilles injury. He attended most of the Redskins' home games, watching from a box at FedExField.
Jansen passed a significant test in late November when he increased the amount of stress on his foot. He was able to jog on a treadmill, putting increased stress on the foot.
"It has gone well," he said, referring to his rehabilitation. "It feels good. It's pretty much healed up, now it's just a matter of getting strength back into it. It'll come back."
"It's one of those things where you can't really get ahead of schedule. For one, there's no point to rush it right now. And the other thing is, if you do rush it, there's a chance of getting a setback or not recovering fully than if you take your time. So we're taking our time."
Watching from the sidelines has been a new experience for Jansen, who until this season had started 80 consecutive games since the Redskins selected him in the second-round of the 1999 NFL Draft.
Even at the University of Michigan, he started a school record 50 consecutive games.
Jansen has earned his nickname--"The Rock"--through the years.
He hopes to re-establish that durability in 2005.
When Jansen went down, the Redskins eventually turned to 19-year veteran Ray Brown to replace Jansen most of this season.
After third-year player Kenyatta Jones started the first game, assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel inserted Brown in Week 2. (Jones has since been released.)
Brown, 42, started all but two games at right tackle last season.
When right guard Randy Thomas was sidelined with a hamstring injury in Week 12, Brown shifted to Thomas's position and rookie Mark Wilson started at right tackle.
Head coach Joe Gibbs has said that he would welcome Brown back for a 20th NFL season next year.
If Brown decides to return, the Redskins would have solid depth at right tackle with Jansen returning to the starting lineup.