The Washington Football Team's last practice ahead of their Monday night game against the Seahawks revolved heavily around Curtis Samuel, as meaningful updates about the receiver's battle with his groin issues came both at the organization's facility and away from it.
Here is all the info you need to catch up on regarding the wideout...
Samuel will be back for the Seattle game — but only for part of it
Samuel will be a part of the action in primetime, Rivera confirmed on Saturday.
"He'll go," the coach told reporters.
But like Samuel's Burgundy and Gold debut versus the Falcons back in Week 4, he'll be limited to a certain number of plays — and this time, Washington won't let him exceed that amount, even though the team feels "very comfortable and confident" with his current health.
During that trip to Atlanta, a few of Samuel's fellow pass-catchers succumbed to injuries, meaning he had to line up for extra snaps late in the contest. Rivera has since acknowledged how that afternoon set Samuel back in his recovery.
He has no intention of allowing that to unfold again on Monday.
"There's going to be a pitch count," Rivera said. "We're going to stick to the pitch count. It's already been determined."
Regardless of how little or how much he's used, Samuel is just pleased that he was able to "put together a good week of practice" without reversing course.
"I think that's something that I haven't really been able to do in the past," he said. "I feel like this is definitely taking a step in the right direction."
This situation has been just as hard physically as it has been mentally on Samuel
Samuel has dealt with a season-ending ankle injury before as a pro as well as hamstring ailments. The groin problem has presented challenges those other obstacles didn't.
"It was a little adjustment in trying to understand it," he said. "Groin, that's more cutting, lateral movement. If you watch my game, you know how I play, I do a lot of cutting."
The whole ordeal has taken a toll on his mind in addition to his lower body.
"When you want to be out there so bad and stuff like this happens, it brings you down a little bit," Samuel said. "I had a lot of people in my corner to help get my spirits up and keep me happy. I'm just trying to keep going forward and keep getting better."
Rivera expressed sympathy for Samuel and explained that, when he was in the NFL, the scrutiny he faced wasn't even close to what today's athletes are forced to handle.
"It's the stress, it's the pressure," Rivera said. "As much as they don't want to hear it, they'll hear it. Somebody they know will read something or say something or hear something and it'll get back to the player inevitably, and that's unfortunate. It's unfair."
Come Monday, the 25-year-old will hopefully begin a fruitful final stretch for Washington — one that features a handful of much-needed successes for him and the offense overall.
Samuel did reportedly undergo surgery back in June
Shortly after Samuel's time with reporters on Saturday concluded, ESPN's John Keim published a story in which he reported that Samuel "underwent surgery in early June."
Despite there being numerous questions over the past couple of months about Samuel possibly going that route as he continued to struggle to come back, Rivera nor the franchise confirmed that Samuel ever had an operation done. ESPN's report is the first to detail that such a procedure occurred.
Rivera's most firm comments on Samuel and surgery came on the Friday before Washington's 2021 season opener. That is when Samuel was placed on short-term injured reserve, where he would remain until Week 4.
"Don't even bring that up," Rivera said then. "I don't want to start any rumors or any crap."
On Saturday, Samuel was actually asked if surgery ever was a consideration as the injury lingered and lingered, but he chose not to respond to that inquiry head-on.
"It was just more about giving rest and trying to get my body back right," he said.