Redskins rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson appeared in just two games this season before an Achilles injury sidelined him. The team wants him to rehab and rest before coming back for the 2017 season.
With the Washington Redskins potentially needing assistance at the center position with Spencer Long's status uncertain for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the team announced on Wednesday that Kory Lichtensteiger has been designated for return.
Lichtensteiger, who was placed on Injured Reserve in September with a calf injury, has a 21-day practice period for the team to evaluate his potential return to the active roster.
But with the Redskins allowed to designate only one player for return in a given season, the decision officially rules out a return for 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson, who has been dealing with an Achilles injury since the summer months.
"It is disappointing for all of us," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "You know, we had high hopes for him coming out of TCU and the talent that he has and he's disappointed but these things happen. There's been a lot – if you look around the league, there's a lot of first-rounders that didn't get up and running this year for whatever reason and a lot of draft picks. So he's just one of the guys that we have to take good care of.
"We have to make sure we get to the bottom of his injury and hopefully this gives his mental state of mind some peace that he can go out and rehab it and get it well for OTAs."
Doctson appeared in just two games during his rookie season, recording two receptions for 66 yards. Fifty-seven of those yards came against the Cowboys in Week 2, as Doctson took advantage of a lack of coverage to record the longest reception by a Redskins rookie wide receiver since 2001.
But as he was warming up for Washington's game the next weekend against the New York Giants, Doctson started to feel discomfort before being a late scratch.
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.
He would remain inactive for the next few weeks before the Redskins placed Doctson on Injured Reserve on Oct. 21, replacing him on the active roster with Maurice Harris.
"I'm frustrated for him. I feel bad for him. He wants to play in the worst way," Gruden said at the time. "This is the most unique injury that people have seen you know. Can't put a finger on why he's having pain, but he's having pain. And he wants to play. And he's not the same guy when you can't push off because your Achilles is bothering you. So we got to get to the bottom of it and give him a little bit of time hopefully and try to get to the bottom of it, but we're more concerned about longevity right now. We want to make sure he gets well."
Doctson will now get a few extra months to rehab and regain health before returning early next year for offseason workouts.
Knowing the type of talent he possesses and his abilities in the red zone, the Redskins may ask a lot out of the TCU product next year especially with the team's top two wide receivers – Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson – currently playing on expiring contracts.
"I think when the season is over we start talking about that," Gruden said. "That does make it tougher but we're not worried about that. I think right now it's all about trying to get the guys that we have to play well and play hard and get us to where we want to go. When the season is over, we'll address all the free agents, the receivers and all of them in general, so that time will come."