Washington returns to Titans practice

Monday, September 7, 2009 at 4:54pm

Nate Washington may have taken a step toward playing against his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, on Thursday, as he practiced Monday for the first time since Aug. 24.

That was the day Washington suffered a right hamstring injury during a training camp practice, something that put his availability for the opener in jeopardy.

Washington was limited in Monday’s practice, running some routes and getting in to practice for a few plays during the workout.

“It was great. It was my first day back at practice, and even the reps I did get, it felt good to be in the huddle again, and it felt good to get the little bit of reps I did get today,” Washington said.

Washington said from the time he suffered the injury that he was going to pursue aggressive rehab in an effort to make it back to play against the team he won the Super Bowl with last year.

“We haven’t been babying it. I told them at the beginning of this injury, we were going to attack it pretty aggressively, and that’s what we’ve been doing,” Washington said. “They’ve been giving me leeway to do some nice hard rehab, and it’s been working out for the best. I feel great today. I got a little extra work in in practice. Things have been going smoothly. It’s just a matter of time before they tell me to go out there and get some real work in.”

Washington, who came to the Titans in a six-year, $27 million package in the off-season, said the hamstring is “north of 80 percent.”

“It’s easy to say now. Thursday night might roll around and things might be different in my mind, but at the same time, I feel great out there on the practice field and my hamstring didn’t cross my mind one time,” Washington said.

One thing is certain, Washington is doing everything he can to play against his former team, while at the same time trying to be realistic that it might not happen.

“Late at night, and I’ve been waking up these past couple of nights, rehabbing in the middle of my sleep,” he said. “It’s definitely something I’ve been trying to pry into myself that it’s a 16-week season. But in all honesty, this game does mean a whole lot to me. It means a whole lot to get to go out and play against these guys.”

In addition to Washington, cornerback Ryan Mouton (ankle) and punter Craig Hentrich (back) both participated fully in practice.

Rookie tight end Jared Cook, still bothered by a right ankle injury, was limited again on Monday.