commanders de chase young return week 16

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Activated from the Commanders’ reserve/PUP list weeks ago, Chase Young has seen his long-awaited return from a severe knee injury delayed. But the wait appears to be over.

The former Defensive Rookie of the Year will make his season debut Saturday, Ron Rivera said. Young has been out since mid-November 2021, being sidelined by an ACL tear and other knee damage. Washington has played it carefully with Young and managed to crawl from a 1-4 hole into the playoff picture without him, but the third-year defensive end’s return will undoubtedly boost the Commanders’ pass rush.

Young said earlier this week he would discuss the full extent of his knee injury “eventually,” but it is believed he suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in addition to the ACL tear, John Keim of tweets. Young will be on a pitch count against the 49ers, Rivera added, via the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter. But the prospect of Young lining up alongside Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, and Daron Payne to reform the four-first-rounder D-line that led the way to Washington’s 2020 playoff berth certainly represents great news for the NFC East squad.

Young went down during a Washington-Tampa Bay game on Nov. 14, 2021. The reconstructive surgery on Young’s right knee also required a graft from his left patellar tendon, complicating his recovery from the two major injuries. While dozens of ACL recoveries happen each year in the NFL, patellar tendon issues can be more troublesome. Young, 23, coming back from both makes for quite the rehab achievement, one that will aid the Commanders’ playoff prospects.

The Commanders had planned to have Young ready for their pivotal Giants rematch, but it was determined the Ohio State product was not quite ready. Young and the Commanders were aligned on this late change. Should Young show the form he did as a rookie, he will be in line for a monster extension. However, the fifth-year option — which must be exercised by May — would be a valuable tool to help the team gauge Young’s form next season. Saturday’s snap-count strategy may be the norm the rest of the way, so 2023 would stand to be a better window to evaluate its prized edge defender.

After the Bengals took Joe Burrow first overall in 2020, Washington selected Young. The best-player-available pick bolstered the then-Washington Football Team’s pass rush, which already had four first-rounders, along with Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle at the time. Young’s 7.5 sacks and four forced fumbles played a lead role in helping the team go from 1-4 to the NFC East title. Washington is attempting to complete a similar route this year, and it will be interesting — considering Young’s second-year step back (1.5 sacks, four QB hits in nine games) — how the former Heisman finalist looks after this 13-month rehab odyssey.

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