NFL

Redskins' Jenkins back after knee injury

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ASHBURN, Va. (AP)

Jarvis Jenkins was having an impressive summer in 2011.

Then the second-round draft pick from Clemson tore his right ACL in Washington's third preseason game.

His promising rookie season was over before it officially began.

Nearly a year later, Jenkins is back on the field and eager for the Redskins (No. 25 in the AP Pro32) preseason opener at Buffalo on Thursday. The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Jenkins recovered from surgery in time to participate in all of Washington's spring workouts, but he won't be all the way back until he plays in a game.

''It takes time just to get comfortable, get confident (enough) to be able to play full speed on it,'' said defensive end Adam Carriker, who missed the 2009 season with a shoulder injury. ''He's getting there, but he missed almost a year of football.''

And not just any year. His rookie year.

''It was kind of hard coming from a person who really never had an injury before,'' said Jenkins, who's moving pretty well despite the brace that protects his right knee.

''My dad was always telling me adversity makes a person stronger. I rehabbed, got it real healthy so I'll never get an injury again. I most definitely feel like a rookie. I haven't played a regular season game yet. I haven't hit nobody, had no real physical contact in a year so I'm anxious to get out there and put them pads on.''

Not that Jenkins' coaches and teammates are waiting for next week's game to factor him into their plans for this season.

''He was having a heck of a preseason,'' Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. ''He was a difference maker inside. Any time someone comes off an ACL, you're always hoping there's no setback and thus far there has been no setback. He's looked very impressive.''

While Jenkins was pushing starting ends Stephen Bowen and Adam Carriker for playing time last summer, the plan is for him to rotate in at both spots and in nickel situations.

''I know I'm going to play a good bit, I'm not worried about being a starter,'' Jenkins said. ''It's not about being a starter. It's about contributing and having a good game consistently for the whole season. I'm a run-stopper. That's what I do. I add depth.''

But that's not depth as in a career backup, depth as in a 24-year-old learning the pro game with an eye on becoming a starter. A starting defensive tackle at Clemson, Jenkins used his quickness to record 31 tackles for losses and 31 quarterback pressures.

Bowen said having Jenkins in the rotation will only make a front seven that made a big leap in 2011 even better in 2012.

''He's playing really good right now,'' Bowen said. ''He's giving us way more depth than we've ever had. The best D-lines, they come at people in waves.''

Or as nose tackle Barry Cofield said: ''(Jarvis) working in that rotation with Bowen and Adam (and) him coming in on nickel and pushing the pocket, that make us even more dangerous.''

Notes: Shanahan said that there's still no word from defensive end Kentwan Balmer, who took his things and left camp on Wednesday. ... Receiver Anthony Armstrong will be out a couple of days with the sprained right shoulder he suffered during Thursday's practice. Defensive end Adam Carriker, who was bothered last season and this spring by blisters on his feet, was given a rest day on Friday. ... Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), whom the Redskins selected third overall in the 1994 draft, was at practice and spoke with rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, the second overall pick this year. Until Griffin, Shuler was the only quarterback Washington drafted in the top 10 since 1961.

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Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Tagged: Redskins, Stephen Bowen, Adam Carriker, Jarvis Jenkins, Robert Griffin III

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