Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice could miss as many as eight weeks with a torn meniscus in his right knee, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.
Coach Jay Gruden said Guice underwent a “minor procedure” with orthopedist James Andrews on Thursday to repair the meniscus but didn’t offer a timetable for the second-year running back’s return, adding that he did not know if the team will place him on injured reserve. Gruden said he did not know if Guice’s meniscus is torn.
Andrews performed surgery on Guice last year to repair the torn ACL in his left knee suffered in Washington’s 2018 preseason opener.
Earlier in the week, Gruden had said there was still a possibility Guice could return as early as this Sunday’s home opener against the Dallas Cowboys, but two people with knowledge of the situation said Monday that Guice could miss multiple weeks.
Guice, who had worked all of last season to get back from his ACL injury, and was very enthusiastic in front of his locker after playing in his first regular season game Sunday, expressed optimism in a Tweet sent Thursday afternoon. “Don’t feel bad for me!!” he wrote. “This is what I signed up! It wear and tears on your body over time! I’ve been doing this 15 years!! Trust the process.. head up chin up and grind.”
But the development is a significant blow for the Redskins, who made him a second-round pick in 2018 with the idea that he could be a featured back for several years. The team had described Guice as a steal, a player whom it had on the first round of its draft board, according to Doug Williams, Washington’s senior vice president of player personnel.
There was hope that Guice could finally have a major impact on the team’s offense this year, having recovered after sitting out all of his rookie season while recovering from his torn ACL. Just last week, Gruden said the team’s offense would run through Guice, and he felt so confident about Guice’s ability and health status that he didn’t dress 2012 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 1,042 yards last year in Guice’s absence.
Late Sunday afternoon, when Gruden still believed Guice had come out of the opener without injury, the coach said the only way he would use Peterson and Guice together is if “we think we can run the ball 55 times in a game in I-formation.”
Gruden’s tone had changed by Wednesday, when he named Peterson the starter if Guice couldn’t play and said he wants Peterson on the team.
“No,” Gruden said when asked if he and Peterson needed to talk about what happened over the weekend. “We’ve talked. He’s in a good place. Nobody’s ever happy if you’re the backup or not dressing, but you are still on the team and when your number is called, you roll. And Adrian is a pro, and I feel very good if his number is called this week he will be ready to go and play very hard, and he’ll be Adrian Peterson.”
For now, Guice’s NFL career is frozen at the 10 carries he had Sunday for 18 yards and three catches for 20 yards.
Peterson is not as ideal a fit for Gruden’s offense as Guice, known for being more of a straight-ahead runner and not a great pass-catching threat. But Peterson worked hard to adapt his game to the Redskins’ offense last season and has repeatedly said his pass-catching numbers were lower in past seasons because his former team, the Minnesota Vikings, constantly was changing quarterbacks.
In his first meeting last year against this week’s opponent, the Cowboys, Peterson carried 24 times for 99 yards in a 20-17 Washington victory. He had one of his worst games of the season when the teams met again in Dallas, rushing for only 35 yards in a 31-23 Thanksgiving Day loss.
The Washington Post’s Mark Maske contributed to this report.