When Ryan Kerrigan left the Redskins' Week 7 win with a hand injury, then returned to the sidelines wearing a cast on his wrist instead of a uniform on his back, the immediate future regarding his health looked grim.
The diagnosis was a fractured bone in his right hand, and the linebacker had surgery to fix it over the bye week. Now, though, Kerrigan said he wants to take the field with his team this Sunday as they travel to square off with the Patriots, but pointed out he'll be careful with his decision.
"Did some things today, no contact today," he said after a light practice on Monday. "Still wanna give the bone some time to heal. Hoping to be able to play this weekend, but we'll know more towards the end of the week."
"I gotta be reasonable. I could of course just go out there and run into people, but who am I really helping in that capacity?" Kerrigan continued. "I wanna make sure that, if I am able to play, that I'm able to play effectively and not just be a body out there."
The fifth-year defender has played in all 71 games since being selected in the first round by Washington in the 2011 draft, and he admitted that this week's opponent provides a little extra motivation for him to suit up for number 72.
"They're the Super Bowl champion," he said. "They're undefeated. You wanna play in these types of games, especially at their place. This is a big game for us. We can even ourselves out at .500, and going against an opponent like that, it would be an awesome thing to accomplish."
The bye week came at a convenient time for many dinged-up 'Skins, but Kerrigan especially. He didn't just use the off days to heal up, however. He also got to head back to Indiana and spend quality time with some important people.
"I got to go home a little bit, see the family, and watch my little sister play volleyball [at Grace College]," Kerrigan said when asked about what he did during the gap in the Redskins' schedule. "Got to see Purdue [football] get a nice win this weekend. All in all, a good bye week — other than the hand surgery."
But — despite having a Pro Bowl under his belt and being one of the better pass rushers in the league — Kerrigan said he didn't get any "big man on campus" treatment when attending his sister's match. Not that the lack of attention bothered him.
"I'm just Kaitlin's brother there, that's all. And that's the way it should be, because those are her stomping grounds."