- Brandon Banks had surgery to repair a ligament in his knee on Tuesday of last week, but could be available for Monday night's game, Mike Shanahan said. (Photo: Associated Press)
Take it as mind games, gamesmanship or fact, but Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said that there still is a chance that kick/punt returner Brandon Banks could play Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Banks just more than a week ago had sugery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee and was expected to miss two to three weeks.
Banks suffered the injury in the Redskins' loss to Detroit on Oct. 31, the same game in which he returned a kick 96 yards for a touchdown. One of the league leaders in both kick and punt returns, Banks' absence would be a blow for Washington. But Shanahan isn't ruling out his availability.
"There's a chance," said Shanahan, who usually tries to disclose as little as possible about injuries because he doesn't want to clue in opponents. "A lot has to do with his size. Not as much weight on that knee. We're keeping our fingers crossed. He's working pretty hard. He's going through rehab and is on the treadmill. He was on the treadmill to do, got some good work in. It's a good sign. Not much swelling."
Shanahan said that the trainers' treadmill workout is pretty strenuous, so if Banks was able to go through it, then he obviously is in pretty good shape.
Shanahan didn't nail down a date by which he wanted to see Banks back on the practice field before deciding if he could play. He said being that Banks' role primarily is kick/punt returner and that he isn't used much as a receiver, missed practice time isn't as crucial.
"He's made some big plays for us," Shanahan said of Banks, an undrafted rookie out of Kansas State. "You want to make sure that you don't put him in there and lose him for the year, too. So we'll see. it's a little too soon to give a real up-to-date report, but there is a chance."
If Banks isn't able to go, running back Chad Simpson could see time at kick returner, and receiver Anthony Armstrong or cornerback Phillip Buchanon would be used as a punt returner.