The Washington Commanders activated defensive end Chase Young from the physically unable to perform list on Monday.
The return of the former No. 2 overall draft pick has been in the works for some time. Young has not played in more than a year — since injuring his right knee (torn ACL and MCL) on Nov. 14, 2021.
Young was designated to return to practice on Nov. 2, opening a 21-day window for his return to the active roster. There were hopes he would be able to play in Week 10 against the Philadelphia Eagles or Week 11 against the Houston Texans, but the Commanders held off before adding him to the 53-man roster.
Wednesday would have marked the end of the 21-day window, after which Young would have had to move onto season-ending injured reserve.
Coach Ron Rivera did not go as far as to say that Young will play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
“We will work him with the intent that he’s ready to play,” Rivera said. “If he’s not, then we’ll wait another week. He’s ready to go as far as being activated.”
Rivera said the most important thing is to see Young consistently and confidently “cut it loose” during practice.
“We want to make sure he’s confident, no hesitation,” Rivera said. “… You start to see it, especially when he’s not thinking about it. I watch it very closely and every now and then check to make sure it’s fine. We want to make sure because the last thing we want is for him to get back out there and hurt it again.”
Young recorded nine sacks, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 70 total tackles in 24 career games (all starts) over his first two seasons. He was the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year after putting up 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three recoveries.
The Commanders (6-5) are coming off back-to-back wins against the Eagles and Texans and are in the thick of the NFC playoff race entering Sunday’s home game against the Falcons (5-6).
–Field Level Media