Redskins

Donovan ruled out of World Cup qualifiers

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Donovan ruled out of World Cup qualifiers

MIAMI (AP) Landon Donovan will not play for the U.S. national team in a pair of upcoming World Cup qualifying matches because of an injured left knee, adding to what will be a pressure-filled few days for the Americans.

U.S. Soccer said Tuesday that Donovan - who has more goals, assists and starts than any player in program history - will likely not be replaced on what was a 24-man roster for the upcoming qualifiers, first on Friday on the road against Antigua and Barbuda, then in Kansas City on Oct. 16 against Guatemala.

Donovan was injured while playing Saturday for the Los Angeles Galaxy. He was selected by U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann for these qualifiers anyway, and the team's athletic trainers wanted him to be evaluated one more time before he started training.

Donovan had scrapped plans for an MRI in Los Angeles on Monday because he thought his knee had improved.

``Landon was very optimistic over the weekend when his knee was feeling much better, but now he needs time to recover,'' Klinsmann said.

Both the national team and the Galaxy said Donovan was returning to Los Angeles for further evaluation.

That was not the outcome anyone expected. Hours before the Donovan decision was announced, Klinsmann said the Americans had ``very, very positive'' about his status.

``You want your leaders on the team there,'' Klinsmann said.

Brek Shea was also was ruled out of the qualifiers on Tuesday because of an abdominal injury. Barring a change of plans, that means Klinsmann will take only 22 players to Antigua for what would seem to be a must-win match on Friday night.

``We knew Brek was a question mark coming in, and now we have a clear picture of where he stands,'' Klinsmann said. ``We feel confident that the group we have will get the job done.''

It is not shaping up as an easy task, with three teams playing for two spots in next year's regional finals.

The U.S., Guatemala and Jamaica all have seven points after the first four matches of play in this qualifying round, while Antigua and Barbuda has one point. For the U.S. to reach next year's regional finals, four points - a win and a tie - would seem to be the most probable requirement.

Guatemala figures to have the toughest draw remaining of the three teams atop Group A, having to play both Jamaica (which would currently be the odd team out because of a goal-differential tiebreaker) and the U.S.

If the Americans win on Friday, they would control their destiny as far as reaching the next round, no matter what the Guatemala-Jamaica result is that same night.

``You don't want to rely on other people,'' U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard said. ``We should have done business before these two games, but we didn't, so now there's pressure on us to do that.''

There was some good news on the injury front for the Americans on Tuesday, with midfielder Michael Bradley able to train with teammates. Bradley has been dealing with a leg injury.

About 10 of the 24 players on the roster missed a Tuesday morning training session for a variety of reasons - from jet lag to treatment of minor injuries. Klinsmann said he expected the full roster to be available for a gym session later in the day, and the assumption was that they would all be ready for training Wednesday as well.

Midfielder Jermaine Jones (left ankle) was among those not at training on Tuesday; he leads all American players in appearances (10) and minutes (877) this year, and the expectation is that he will be able to play on Friday. And with the way the injuries are shaking out, Graham Zusi would most likely get the call to play on the wide right side of the midfield.

``We're here to get six points,'' Klinsmann said. ``This is our goal and what we want to achieve.''

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Is Adrian Peterson a good fit with the Redskins?

Is Adrian Peterson a good fit with the Redskins?

Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs in NFL history.

But is he the best running back for the Redskins right now?

The Redskins signed Peterson, 33 years old and a 12-year NFL veteran, to a one-year contract. They have been hit with injuries at the running back position, most notably the loss of second-round pick Derrius Guice for the season with a torn ACL. They didn’t make any moves when that diagnosis was announced a week and a half ago. But they lost two more backs to short-term injuries last Thursday and they decided that now is the time to go out and get somebody.

Is the need for a running back really there? Rob Kelley, was the starter for the last half of the 2016 season and for seven games last year before a variety of ailments sent him to injured reserve. Samaje Perine became the starter after that and while he struggled at time he also showed growth potential.

Kelley is 25 and Perine is 22. In the absence of Guice, they could develop and when Guice returns next year the team would have a good stable of young running backs.

But now, Peterson is in the picture. We don’t yet know what his role will be, but they did not sign him to be the back who is inactive on game days. He will get some carries and that will take work away from Perine and Kelley.

Now, if Peterson is more productive than either of the two younger backs then that is a worthwhile swap. But what does he have left in the tank at age 33?

Last year, playing for the Saints and Cardinals he gained 529 yards on 156 carries, a very pedestrian average of 3.4 years per carry. That is very similar to the production of Perine, who had 175 carries for 603 yards, a 3.4 average. In his two years in the NFL, Kelley has averaged 3.9 yards per carry.

By signing Peterson, however, the Redskins are hoping that Peterson has one more big year, or at least a medium year by his standards, left in him. After all, it was just in 2015 that he led the NFL in rushing for the third time in his career as he ran for 1,485 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. The Redskins would be delighted if he could get half of that total.

Any free agent signing can only be evaluated when the contract details are available. We only know that it’s a one-year deal and according to some reports he did not get any money guaranteed at signing. That seems to be a team friendly deal, but we will have to see what might kick in if he is on the Week 1 roster.

As with everything else, time will tell if this move works out. If the money is right, it’s a low risk transaction with some possible upside for Washington.

Back during minicamp while talking about how quickly Alex Smith would have to get up to speed with the offense, Jay Gruden said that the Redskins are not in a rebuilding mode and that they need to win now. After the trade for Smith, the Peterson signing is another indication that patience may be wearing thin.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Former MVP Adrian Peterson signing with Redskins amid mounting RB injuries

Former MVP Adrian Peterson signing with Redskins amid mounting RB injuries


The Redskins agreed to terms with free agent running back Adrian Peterson, per multiple reports and confirmed by NBC Sports Washington.

Washington added Peterson as their running back group took a number of hits this preseason. Rookie Derrius Guice was lost for the year in the preseason opener, while Byron Marshall, Martez Carter and Samaje Perine got hurt in the second preseason game against the Jets.

Peterson is a huge name. He’s likely headed for the Hall of Fame when his career ends, and he’s one of only a handful of rushers to gain more than 2,000 yards in a season.

His best seasons came with the Vikings, but Peterson hasn’t delivered top flight results since 2015.

If he’s healthy and ready to go, Peterson could be a tremendous steal for the Redskins. There is no way to know until he suits up in the preseason, which could happen as soon as this Friday night against Denver.

On the roster, Washington has Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs and Chris Thompson available at running back. At his best, Peterson is significantly better than that group.

Will the Redskins get Peterson at his best?

That’s the big question. And with two preseason games remaining, he will get the chance to prove it.

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