How long is Curtis Samuel out? Injury timeline, return date, updates on Washington wide receiver

WR Curtis Samuel was placed on the short-term injured reserve by Washington. He's set to return, but how long will he actually be out?

The Washington Football Team will take on the New York Giants on this week’s iteration of Thursday Night Football. One player you are not going to see on the football field is Washington WR Curtis Samuel. With a short-term stint on the injured reserve, Samuel will not appear against New York. He’ll remain on the sidelines for some time.

How long is Curtis Samuel out?

We’re a far cry from the lead-up to Week 1 when Samuel was thought to have a chance to play. In fact, Samuel’s presence during training camp and preseason practices was arguably the biggest story coming out of Ashburn. His ability to see the practice field gave optimism for his first season at Washington.

However, a dramatic turn came to a head on September 8 as it was announced he had “tweaked” his groin injury. Even after warming up, running individual routes, and exiting practice while shaking his head, head coach Ron Rivera felt optimistic toward his young receiver.

“He came out, warmed up, and he wasn’t quite feeling as well as hoped he would,” Rivera told reporters on a call that week. “We’ll continue to monitor it and see how he is in the morning.”

It was just two days later that Rivera and Washington placed Samuel on the injured reserve. He will miss at least the first three games of the season.

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Injury timeline

  • September 8: Samuel leaves practice after running routes and apparently re-aggravating his groin injury. He shook his head to teammates who seemed to ask how he was doing upon exiting the field.
  • September 10: Washington places Samuel on the injured reserve. A previous stint on the PUP list to start training camp predated his IR designation, as did 10 days on the COVID-19 list.
  • September 12: Samuel misses the first game of the season, as Washington drops the contest 20-16 to the Los Angeles Chargers.

When might Samuel return from injury?

After Washington lost QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to a hip subluxation, all eyes will be on the team’s injury report for their Thursday Night Football match with the Giants. However, you won’t find Samuel there. His place on the short-term injured reserve means he won’t be listed on the team’s official injury report.

Samuel should return in three weeks. It’s important to note that Samuel has already rehabbed what was thought to be a short-term injury for three and a half months since the spring. He opened training camp on the PUP list and was then placed on the team’s COVID-19 list, missing two weeks of practice.

Still, with his groin injury lingering and limited practice reps to this point, Rivera remains optimistic.

“We just want to take that concern and worry off his shoulders for a little bit,” Rivera told reporters following Samuel’s IR designation.

Washington hopeful for their young receiver

Rivera continued with reassurances that Samuel’s injury isn’t a long-term issue. He stated that he’s comfortable in saying he’ll return sooner than later. Washinton signed Samuel to a three-year, $34.5-million deal this offseason. It’s abundantly clear that he’s an integral part of their offensive plans for 2021.

As far as when Samuel will officially return, his designation states he can be back for Week 4 when Washington travels to Atlanta on October 3 to face the Falcons. The NFL’s injured reserve rules state that Samuel will be eligible to return to practice after the team’s third game.

Washington then has 21 days to activate Samuel or leave him on the IR for the entire season. That means the game against the Falcons is the earliest we could see him. The latest we could see Samuel in a Washington uniform is the practice week leading up to their Week 7 bout against the Green Bay Packers.

“We want to create this opportunity and take advantage of it to really let him focus on getting healthy before he has to start worrying about playing,” Rivera said.

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of NFL News/Analysis for Pro Football Network. He is also the co-host of Between the Hashes, a college football and NFL draft podcast. You can find his writing here. Follow him on Twitter @CamMellor

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