Playing catch-up after months of not practicing, Josh Doctson wants to make sure he's comfortable and healthy before being entered into game action.
The first step of getting back to work was completed on Saturday afternoon for Washington Redskins rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson, who was activated from a lengthy stint on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
The next step was being back on the field with his teammates in practice, which Doctson achieved on Monday afternoon at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
But the one final step – the biggest in his road back from a nagging Achilles injury – Doctson needs to take will be his most important: being right in game action.
"I'm out here, it's a positive, it's a plus," Doctson said on Monday. "I'm not out here wasting a day. Today was getting back into it, getting a nice sweat. I didn't get tired at all out there, so that goes as a tribute to what the guys did with me in terms of rehab conditioning and doing what I could do."
The team also won't rush Doctson back into the fold and don't need to with weapons like DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed already around.
"I'm not going to step foot on Monday night or put a uniform on there and get myself embarrassed," Doctson said. "We've got guys, Pierre, Jackson, Crowder, Reed, 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."
Doctson was a full participant in Monday's practice showing not favoritism of his Achilles, only slight rust that comes with being away from the field since OTAs.
"Three months, not being able to run, run a route, just can catch," Doctson said. "I've got to get back in the feel of the depth and where I'm running my patterns at. That's the biggest thing right now, just getting back to running these routes that I'm not used to versus in college."
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said Doctson is "definitely on the right path," but he still has a ways to go before he find his role in the offense.
With the 22nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected wide receiver Josh Doctson of TCU. Take a look at his collegiate career in photos.
In fact, Monday marked the first time the team had seen him in shoulder pads.
"We want to get him back in the flow and get him some reps in team activities, get him some contact when he gets pads on – either Wednesday or Thursday – and see how he does," Gruden said. "The big thing is the more we push him, we've got to see how he recovers the next day. Tomorrow will be a big day for him. They're off, but we'll see how he's doing tomorrow and then we'll push him again Wednesday and see where he's at, both physically and mentally, and we'll make a decision (for the Steelers game) later in the week."
Doctson received shockwave therapy, a non-surgical method to relieve pain and help speed recovery rates through waves that carry high energy.
The 23-year-old also had youth on his side.
"They said 8-12 weeks, but given my age the recovery process was a little shorter than if I was an older vet guy," Doctson said. "When I heard 8-12 weeks…I knew it wasn't going to be that long. But the process of waiting to get the turnover and start feeling better was really frustrating.
"I've got to make plays out here before I make them on Sunday or Monday. Just when I start making plays, feeling like I'm the same player I was in college."
Doctson admitted that he would "feel guilty going out there and playing without practice," but he's moving passed what was and into a new chapter of his rookie season.
"Right now I'm just trying to forget about it," Doctson said. "It's over, I don't want to repeat the injury."