Leonard Hankerson: 'I'm not rushing'

RICHMOND, Va. -- Here is what Washington Redskins receiver Leonard Hankerson knows: His knee felt good Friday, something it did not feel Monday or Tuesday.

Here is what he doesn’t know: When he will be at, or near, 100 percent healthy and ready to return.

Hankerson tore his left ACL and lateral collateral ligament last season. After surgery in late November, the Redskins said he faced a seven-to-nine month recovery. He’s in the eighth month of his recovery.

“I don’t know if it’s a week or two or three weeks or a month, two,” Hankerson said. “I don’t know. I have no clue. When I came out here Monday, Tuesday I was positive I can’t go, I can’t go. When I came out today, I felt like I can go out there and make plays. I know that’s not the case. I have to keep being patient and keep working.”

Hankerson runs sprints and routes on side fields during practices. But he’s not sure how fast he’s really able to run. He just knows it’s not 100 percent.

“It’s about having some confidence in it, feeling like its 95, 100 percent,” Hankerson said. “I know I don’t have that explosion yet. When I come out here and run routes, it’s not explosive. I know that. There is no need for me to go on the field because I’m not there. I’d probably embarrass myself.”

Hankerson said it’s not hard for him to be patient for one reason: It’s his career. He’s entering the last season of his rookie contract and if he returned before he felt ready, then further damage would have a huge negative impact.

“It’s bigger than just going out there and trying to get back and having fun with teammates,” Hankerson said. “That’s why the main thing is to keep being patient and get to 95, 100 percent to where I know I can go out there and be explosive and making plays and not worrying about getting bumped.”

Nor is he worried about the preseason. Hankerson isn’t battling for a starting job, but the Redskins do have a new offense. Even if it’s similar to their previous one, there is still an adjustment period.

Again, Hankerson does not want to rush back for a preseason game.

“No, man. I’m not worried about the preseason,” he said. “I’m not rushing back. It’s about being healthy. I mean, my health is more important than the preseason. What do you gain from the preseason? Nothing. Yeah it helps guys get better, but I would rather be 100 percent before I step on the field.”

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