ASHBURN, Va. — Washington Commanders running back Antonio Gibson won’t play in Sunday’s crucial game vs. the Cleveland Browns because of various leg injuries.
Gibson was ruled out because of a sprained left knee and foot. Washington (7-7-1) can clinch a playoff spot if it beats the Browns (6-9) while Detroit, Seattle and Green Bay all lose. The Commanders could be eliminated if it loses while the Lions and Packers both win.
However, Washington could receive a boost with defensive end Chase Young returning to the starting lineup. He’ll replace James Smith-Williams, who is out with a concussion. Young played 30 snaps in last week’s loss to the 49ers, his first action since tearing his right ACL and also rupturing the patellar tendon on Nov. 14, 2021.
Washington coach Ron Rivera said he’s seen an increase in Young’s confidence in practice this week and that he was a little more “reckless like he was in 2020.”
“I want that guy that just goes,” Rivera said of Young. “I don’t need a guy that’s going to try and read the act. He’s not a finesse guy. And it was really good to see him get into some of those old habits again.”
Young recorded just 1.5 sacks in nine games before getting hurt. As a rookie, he finished with 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He did not record a sack vs. San Francisco, but he had two tackles and one pass defended.
Although Brian Robinson Jr. has become Washington’s primary running back, Gibson has still played a pivotal role. Gibson has rushed for 546 yards and three touchdowns; he’s caught 46 passes for 353 yards and two more scores. His ability to line up wide and catch passes helped diversify the offense. Gibson also averaged 23.14 yards on 21 kick returns.
Without Gibson, Washington will use Jonathan Williams as Robinson’s backup. Jaret Patterson, who is on the practice squad, is expected to be the third back Sunday. Receiver Curtis Samuel often lines up in the backfield as well.
Robinson leads Washington with 710 yards rushing with 348 coming in the past four games. Williams has carried 14 times for 90 yards.
“A physical guy, very smart guy,” Rivera said of Williams.