Six months after suffering a serious injury, Keenan Robinson says he’s close to rejoining the Redskins on the practice field.
“I'm almost 100-percent,” Robinson said recently. “I’m almost cleared. I’ll probably get cleared by Dr. [James] Andrews in a week or so.”
Robinson was hurt on Thanksgiving as he extended his arm to tackle Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. The injury - a torn pectoral muscle - required surgery and ended Robinson’s rookie season just as the inside linebacker had started to receive more playing time.
The week prior to getting injured, Robinson was used to spell a hobbled London Fletcher and ended up logging a career-high 19 snaps on defense in the Redskins' 31-6 win over the Eagles. In Dallas the following week, Robinson again notched 19 snaps before getting hurt in the game’s final minutes.
“It was disappointing,” Robinson said. “Especially since I was on the rise and getting more playing time.”
“For me,” he added, “I used the time [off] to watch from the sideline, learn from Fletch, learn from other guys, watch the game from a bird’s eye perspective. It helped me from a developmental process.”
Although Robinson tore the same muscle that also ended Brian Orakpo's 2012 campaign, the injuries were different.
“He tore his off the bone,” Robinson said of Orakpo, who suffered a pectoral tear in Week 2. “I tore mine in the muscle belly. It was more of an inner muscular tear than anything near the bone.”
As much as it pained Robinson to watch the Redskins' run to the playoffs from the sideline, he made the most of his time away. In addition to identifying areas where he wanted to improve, he also studied Fletcher’s habits on and off the field. The Redskins have been grooming Robinson as a potential successor to Fletcher, who, at 38, is entering his 16th NFL season and last one under contract in Washington.
“You pick up on the little things he does, especially off the field in the meeting room, in the weight room, training room. The different things he does to take care of his body, the different things he does to make sure he’s on top of his game,” Robinson said. “Every day, I learn something new from him.”
With Fletcher and Perry Riley expected to be the team's starting inside linebackers again in 2013, Robinson figures to battle Bryan Kehl, Roddrick Muckelroy and Marvin Burdette for a reserve job. Robinson said he intends to learn both inside linebacker positions so he can step in for Fletcher or Riley while also increasing his value to the team.
In the coming weeks, though, Robinson’s focus will be a singular one: regaining his form so he can hit the ground running July 25th in Richmond.
“I’ll definitely be ready for Day 1,” Robinson said.