ASHBURN, Va. — Jordan Reed knows he can play through the pain. Sometimes he just knows he shouldn’t.
The Washington Redskins tight end is confident he’ll be able to give it a go Monday night against the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs. A chest-rib injury sidelined Reed for Washington’s Week 3 victory over the Oakland Raiders, but he was back at practice Thursday and expects to play at Kansas City.
“Some time went by, and the injury severity went down some and the pain went down and things like that and I got some strength back in my chest,” Reed said.
Coach Jay Gruden said Reed was limited in practice but took part in some more team drills. Last week it was a decision between a 70 percent-healthy Reed and a 100 percent Jeremy Sprinkle, and the 27-year-old starter was glad he didn’t try to play.
“We got some real good players at tight end,” Reed said. “If I ain’t 100 percent, then I’m hurting the team when we got like Niles Paul and Vernon (Davis), the things they can do. It was a smarter thing to let them go out there and ball out.”
Davis had five catches for 58 yards against Oakland.
Reed has only played a game and a half this season before leaving in the third quarter in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams. In that time he has 11 catches for 84 yards, and Gruden called the Rams game Reed’s best all-around performance in a while.
“Jordan was awesome,” Gruden said recently. “His route-running has always been solid. I might have been nitpicking the first week, he’s just a little too quick sometimes, but he’s still a great player and has done an excellent job for us.”
After missing four games with a concussion and a shoulder injury Reed fought through pain late last season and wasn’t himself. He said he had to be out there because “it was crunch time” but now wants to make sure he’s healthy and can do everything on the field before returning.
“I need to be able to run block and run routes and if I can’t do (both), it’s just going to be a one-dimensional thing and it’s going to hurt our team,” Reed said.
When Reed is at his best, he’s a top target for quarterback Kirk Cousins and a matchup problem for opponents. Of course Gruden is still taking a wait-and-see approach with Reed because the Redskins’ bye week begins after the Chiefs game and could provide an extra week of rest.
“That or you play him and he gets two weeks’ rest, right?” Gruden said. “Either way.”
NOTES: Cousins abruptly left the practice facility Thursday after receiving a text from his wife, Julie, who has been due to give birth to the couple’s first child. … Cousins was named NFC offensive player of the week for throwing for 365 yards and three touchdowns against the Raiders. … Gruden said OT Ty Nsekhe had surgery to repair a core muscle injury on Tuesday and is expected to miss three to six weeks. T.J. Clemmings will be the team’s third tackle in Nsekhe’s absence. … RB Rob Kelley (rib), linebacker Mason Foster (shoulder) and DL Matt Ioannidis (shoulder) were all limited in practice along with Reed.