Jason Hatcher, the Redskins biggest free agent acquisition on defense this year, will not participate in the team's three day mandatory mini-camp due to pain and swelling in his knee. Coach Gruden said that Hatcher will be getting an MRI on the knee today as a precaution. The team is downplaying the injury, but this is standard operating procedure, and we will know more about the extent of the injury over the next few days. The Redskins have a break from practices until Training Camp officially starts July 24th in Richmond, VA, and Gruden thinks he should be ready to participate by then.
"We’re going to continue to look at his knee and see how he’s doing and make sure we’re taking the proper precautions and get him ready for training camp," Gruden said. "I don’t know when he tweaked it. He just said he had a little bit of pain and a little bit of swelling. So we’re just going to make sure we do the proper procedures as far as getting him checked out—an MRI, an X-Ray."
"There’s no concern," he said. "We’re going to get him checked out and we’ll go from there. But I feel like he’ll be ready for training camp and that’s the big thing."
"I don’t know when (Hatcher) tweaked it, he just said he had a little bit of pain, a little bit of swelling, so we’re just going to make sure we do the proper procedures and as far as getting him checked out, MRI, X-ray, all that good stuff, just make sure he’s good," Gruden said. "We’ll keep him out tomorrow also."
Hatcher spent his first 8 seasons in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. He has been on the Cowboys injury report 25 times over those 8 years, but a knee injury was never listed. The big concern with Hatcher last season, and for the future, was the nerve damage in his neck which caused him to miss one game against the Saints. Hatcher played with a neck brace later in the season to prevent another stinger, or more damage to his neck.
Hatcher suffered nerve damage in the neck area and doesn't have enough strength in his arm to practice, let alone play in a game.
"This thing is kind of stressful and I lost all the strength in my arm," Hatcher said Wednesday. "So it's getting better day by day and hopefully I'll be out there with D-Ware this weekend."
Hatcher is a big part of Jim Haslett's plan to increase the Redskins pass rush this year as they reportedly move to more of a 1 gap system to increase pressure on the QB. Hatcher's 11 sacks last year were more than the Redskins defensive line combined in 2013. He is coming off of his best season as a pro, and had the doors blown off in free agency by the Redskins 4 year, $27.5 million contract. The Redskins have a lot riding on Hatcher staying healthy and productive over the next two years at the minimum. The team is still working on strengthening their secondary, and a disruptive front 7 will greatly improve the defense's chances to improve over last year's performance.
[UPDATE: 6/17/14 5:34PM] Hatcher took to twitter to say that his knee will be fine, and he is currently thinking about different ways to decapitate a quarterback.
My knee is ok. It's minor I'll be ready to kill quarterbacks when the season starts. Just a Lil bump in the road. God is good!! #HTTR— Jason Hatcher (@hatcher97) June 17, 2014