Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen has been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of training camp as he recovers from microfracture surgery on his knee. With final roster cuts eight days away, time is growing short for the organization to make a decision about what to do with the 30-year-old veteran.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden said on Thursday that Bowen “looks better that what I’ve seen” but that he still had swelling and soreness after working out on the side during practice. Gruden didn’t say that Bowen would start the season on the PUP list but it’s clear that he is running out of days to get healthy.
“I would like to get him in practice at least right after the fourth preseason game and see how he’s doing or close thereabouts before the fourth game, but we’ll wait and see,” said Gruden.
That sounds OK but here’s the rub—there are only two days of practice between now and the final cut to a 53-man roster. They will play the Ravens on Saturday, have an off day on Sunday, practice Monday and Tuesday and then travel to Tampa on Wednesday for the final preseason game on Thursday. Friday will be an off day while the coaches make the final cut to 53 players, which will be due by 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Even if Bowen were ready to practice by Monday, which seems to be a long shot, the team would have to take him off of the PUP list for him to be able to participate. That would remove the option of putting him on PUP to start the season. The team would be able to put him on the 53-man roster or put him on season-ending injured reserve.
The calendar and the swelling in Bowen’s knee make it likely that he will start the season on the PUP list. If that happens, he will be sidelined for a minimum of six weeks. That would give the player a chance to strengthen the knee and the team could see where it stands as far as health and performance along the defensive line before making a decision on Bowen’s status.