RICHMOND, Virginia — Jason Hatcher knows the story all too well. Guy signs big contract. Guy gets hurt. Fans and others start complaining about a big waste of money.
So when his knee started ailing during Washington Redskins offseason practices in June, he thought about trying to play with the discomfort and not have surgery.
"You know, just a new guy getting signed, it was a big deal," Hatcher said. "Just you being a human, you're kind of like, 'I'm just getting here, you know? What my teammates going to think? What (are) the GM and owner going to think?' So it was one of those things that was a hard decision."
Hatcher opted to have the arthroscopic surgery to clean up the cartilage in his left knee. It caused him to miss the first two weeks of training camp, but on Saturday he was back on the field. He passed his physical and was moved from the physically unable to perform list to the active roster.
"I'm very happy that the way it's responding," Hatcher said. "I've got a little way to go. I'm very happy where I'm at right now."
The Redskins, looking to bolster the pass rush, signed the defensive end to a four-year, $27.5 million contract in March as a free agent from the Dallas Cowboys. They're going to be cautious with him: He donned his helmet and joined his fellow linemen for the initial part of practice, but he sat out the team drills.
"Slowly but surely," coach Jay Gruden said. "Get him in some individual drills, see how he does and hopefully we'll get him ready by the third week of preseason, maybe fourth, but we will see how he does. It depends on how he feels after he trains and making sure there is no other damage or what have you, but he's coming along very well."
Meanwhile, the Redskins' biggest offseason acquisition, DeSean Jackson, remains sidelined after hurting his left ankle during Wednesday's practice. He missed Thursday's preseason opener against the New England Patriots and sat in the trainers' tent icing his ankle Saturday while his teammates were on the field.
Receiver Pierre Garcon, who missed Thursday's game with a strained hamstring, returned to practice. Two other players nursing more severe hamstring injuries — safeties Ryan Clark and Phillip Thomas — are still limited with no timetable for return.
"Anybody who's pulled a hamstring, you never know," Gruden said.
Gruden said running back Chris Thompson sprained an ankle against the Patriots but called the injury "very minor." Gruden said running back Roy Helu has a "mild knee sprain" and is day to day. Tight end Mike Caussin is dealing with a sore knee — he sat out the Patriots game — and tight end Jordan Reed missed Saturday's practice with an illness.
Also, Gruden said cornerback Tracy Porter, who has been a regular participant in practices, probably won't play until the third preseason game. Porter is recovering from shoulder surgery.
The Redskins have two remaining players on the PUP list: defensive end Stephen Bowen (right knee) and receiver Leonard Hankerson (left knee). Gruden said it's too soon to tell whether either will be ready for the regular season opener Sept. 7.
The team made one other roster move Saturday, signing safety Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith and waiving cornerback Peyton Thompson.
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