The Redskins can make a decision on the status of the two players they have on the physically unable to perform list on Monday but they don’t have to do it right away.
Defensive end Stephen Bowen and wide receiver Leonard Hankerson started the season on PUP. Bowen had microfracture surgery on his knee last year and Hankerson suffered a torn ACL about 11 months ago. Under league rules, players on PUP do not count towards the 53-man roster but they can’t participate in practice or play in games for the first six weeks of the season.
Week 6 of the season will conclude after the Redskins play the Cardinals on Sunday. The Redskins can decide to have one or both of the players start practicing. That would start a three-week window during which the team can decide to activate the player. If they decline to activate him during the allotted 21 days, the player will revert to season ending injured reserve.
But the decision process can be delayed. They have three weeks to start having the player practice. The three-week activation window starts on the day the player is made eligible to practice.
So it amounts to a six-week period the Redskins have to decide. In theory, Bowen and Hankerson could practice next week and be activated a week from Sunday for the game against the Titans. They also could be declared ready to practice after Week 9, which happens to be the Redskins’ bye week, and be put on the roster for the Nov. 23 game against the 49ers. The two could be activated any time after Sunday and before the Week 13 game against the Colts.
Most days both Hankerson and Bowen have been working out on a side field with other injured players during the portion of practice that reporters are permitted to see. It is difficult to say if either of them is healthy enough to practice and coach Jay Gruden has given only vague replies when asked for an update.
Any decision to start the clock ticking on Bowen and Hankerson may not depend entirely on the health of either player. It may depend on the health of players currently on roster. The Redskins now have six wide receivers on the roster and they are having a hard time finding snaps for the bottom three on the depth chart. That might make it tough to find a spot for Hankerson.
It’s a different story on the defensive line, where nose tackle Barry Cofield is on short-term injured reserve (eligible to come back after the bye) and the team is relying on untested players like Frank Kearse and Clifton Geathers for depth. Bowen would almost certainly be an upgrade over some of the players taking snaps now.