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Brian Robinson Jr. injury timeline: How Commanders RB made remarkable five-week recovery from offseason shooting

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One of the Commanders’ top acquisitions of the 2022 NFL Draft is in position to make a much-awaited — and long-postponed — debut.

Washington coach Ron Rivera told reporters on Monday that running back Brian Robinson Jr., the Commanders’ third-round pick at No. 98 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, has been cleared by team doctors to return to football activities. That follows a preseason shooting incident that resulted in Robinson’s placement on injured reserve.

Though Robinson was seen participating in team drills in practice before, his removal from IR gives him three weeks to return to the lineup, else he will miss the remainder of the season.

With that, The Sporting News looks at Robinson’s timeline for return, his injury and what he might provide to the Commanders’ rush game:

What happened to Brian Robinson?

Robinson was the victim of an armed robbery attempt in late August in which two assailants shot him twice in his lower right leg. He was transported to a hospital for surgery and was in stable condition around the time of the shooting.

The injury occurred at a time the rookie — who had a breakout season at Alabama with 1,639 yards from scrimmage and 16 total touchdowns — had separated himself as Washington’s early-down back.

He was placed on the non-football injury list following the shooting, mandating he miss at least four games. But he was seen participating in drills with the team roughly a month after the robbery attempt:

Brian Robinson timeline to return

Robinson has missed Washington’s first four games of the season on the non-football injury list, a stretch in which the Commanders ranked 20th in the league with 100.5 rushing yards per game — roughly 20 fewer yards per game than in 2021.

With Robinson’s removal from IR, he now has a 21-day period starting on Wednesday to be activated, else he will miss the remainder of the season. If Rivera and Co. want him to play in 2022, that gives the running back a deadline of Wednesday, Oct. 26 to be activated to the active roster.

Rivera told reporters on Sept. 25 that Robinson was on track to return to play following the minimum-four game stretch:

“In all honesty, in our hopes without giving you guys a timeline, yes,” Rivera told reporters. “I mean, we’re liking what we see each time we ramp something up. He’s had no ill effects so far. I know Dr. (James) Andrews will be there.

“He’s gonna take a look at our guys that we had on that we’ve had on PUP and that we have on injured reserve and get an opportunity to really look at them. Hopefully, we get nothing but good news on everybody.”

Commanders running back coach Randy Jordan echoed Rivera’s thoughts on Friday, saying Robinson is “on track” to return to play.

The Commanders play the Titans on Sunday; at the Bears on Oct. 13 on “Thursday Night Football”; and vs. the Packers on Oct. 23.

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