The Washington Commanders plan to activate running back Brian Robinson Jr. from the Non-Football Injury list on Wednesday, head coach Ron Rivera told reporters on Monday via Zoom.
Robinson was placed on NFI in late August after being shot twice in an attempted robbery in Washington, D.C. Once Robinson returns to practice, the club will have 21 days to promote him back to the active roster.
"Our intention is we're going to start his clock, basically, because he's on the short-term IR," Rivera said. "We'll have a 21-day window and we'll start that officially on Wednesday if everything continues to go in the right direction. He was cleared by the doctors and given the 'all good.'"
Rivera said Robinson will have no limitations when he returns to practice on Wednesday. The head coach is looking forward to seeing how the running back performs.
"We've got to see how he reacts to contact," Rivera said. "We will have a padded practice on Wednesday. He'll get to bump around a little bit. We'll see how he handles that and we'll go from there."
The rookie running back has been present for Commanders practices over the past couple of weeks, working out on the side training field while his teammates go through the typical session. Robinson was seen running routes at FedEx Field pregame last Sunday prior to the cub's Week 3 matchup against Philadelphia.
Robinson's first chance to make his NFL debut will come this Sunday when the Commanders host the Tennessee Titans. Rivera didn't rule out the possibility of that occurring.
"I'm optimistic about it. Just listening to everything I've heard, it's very promising," Rivera said. "If he continues to progress, there's a very good chance he'll be able to play on Sunday."
A third-round pick in this past April's draft, Robinson impressed during training camp and had overtaken Antonio Gibson as the team's lead running back entering the season. Gibson moved back into that role once Robinson was placed on the NFI list, but the Commanders have been forced to move away from the run game due to slow offensive starts.
When Robinson is able to return, Rivera is hoping the running back will help improve Washington's rushing attack as a whole -- something that should also benefit quarterback Carson Wentz and improve the play-action portion of Washington's offense.
Rivera made it clear that Washington must be careful with their expectations for Robinson, though, considering everything the running back has been through over the past five weeks.
"We've also got to handle what he's going to go through physically and mentally," Rivera said. "It's a different set of circumstances. I don't know of any other player I've coached that's had to go through this."