After missing last Sunday's game with an ankle injury, Shawn Lauvao could be back in the starting line when the Washington Redskins face the Baltimore Ravens and their No. 1-overall defense.
Earning the starting left guard position after an offseason of recovery following multiple ankle and feet surgeries, seven-year veteran Shawn Lauvao emerged as a key piece to the Redskins offensive line the first three weeks of the season.
But Lauvao's season looked to be in jeopardy when he sprained his right ankle in the Redskins' Week 3 victory over the New York Giants.
"Yeah, I was really afraid. I was afraid for the worst there. I thought it was a season-ender," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said this week. "I thought it was the same one he had, so it was really good news that it wasn't that bad. You know, he's back and practicing and did a good job today."
Lauvao was able to heal quickly and could start this Sunday. That means the former third-round pick may only miss one game after some suspected he'd miss the rest of the year.
"I feel incredible now. I feel spectacular," Lauvao said. "We had a good plan of action like I said, with the staff, the coaches and everybody, so hats off to everybody that helped me."
Lauvao is returning to a Redskins offensive line that turned in their best performance of 2016 last week against the Cleveland Browns, paving the way for Matt Jones to rush for his second 100-yard game of his career.
"Well, he's a veteran guy that knows how to block and he's a very strong individual," Gruden said. "Arie [Kouandjio] did great in his place and he's proven that he can play the position also, but Shawn was playing at a very high level before he got hurt. He's great in pass protection, very strong in the running game, gets movement and a smart player."
The Redskins have a tough task to keep the running game going this week, as they face a Ravens defense that has allowed just 80 yards rushing per game, good for fifth best in the league.
"Yeah, I mean, this is an excellent defense. They're No. 1 in the league for a reason," offensive coordinator Sean McVay said. "They're excellent at defending the run and the pass. So it's a great challenge for us. I think the key over the last couple of weeks, which is why we've been able to be a little bit more successful, a little bit more balanced on some of those early down and distances, is because we've been able to be efficient on first down, both running and throwing the football. And that's obviously a key for success for us and we want to be able to continue to do that."
Despite the tough task, the Redskins are confident the running game can still be effective.
"I think like anything man, if we as an O-line and the running backs can come together and get on the same page, I think that can be something special," Lauvao said.