Jets' Washington ahead of rehab schedule, expects to play in 2010

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Leon Washington expects to be on the field when the New York Jets play their first game next season.

The optimistic running back said Tuesday that doctors have told him his broken right leg is two months ahead of a normal recovery, and he expects to be off crutches next week.

"Everything's looking on the up and up, and I'm just looking forward to when I can start jogging," Washington said. "I've got a long way until the season starts. I'm on pace to be there for the opening game of the season, so I just try not to push myself too much."

Washington sustained a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula after a 6-yard run at Oakland on Oct. 25. He had surgery, in which a rod was inserted into the tibia, and was given a timetable of six to 12 months to heal.

"It all depends on which end of the spectrum you want to be on," Washington said. "Obviously, the way I'm improving right now, it's looking real good."

Washington, an All-Pro as a kick returner last season, has been at the Jets' facility for several weeks as his teammates make a playoff run. The Jetswill visit San Diego on Sunday, with the winner advancing to the AFC Championship Game.

"It's tough because I feel like I could be out there and doing something to help us be better," Washington said. "It's definitely fun to watch from a fan perspective, though."

Washington has been walking on a treadmill in water, as well as working on his upper body strength with Jets head trainer Sal Alosi.

"I've got a list of things on the wall inside the training room that I'm doing," he said.

Washington has received X-rays of the tibia every few weeks, and doctors have been pleased with the progress.

"I feel like I could do more, but you want to do everything the right way," he said. "I could be healed on the outside, but the inside, you want everything to be done right."

Washington is in the final year of his rookie contract after being a fourth-round draft pick out of Florida State in 2006. He's uncertain what the future holds for him financially, but he's excited about what the Jets have in place, with Mark Sanchez and coach Rex Ryan.

"Next year, Mark is going to be a year wiser and be so much better, and we're going to be so much better with our young guys getting able to experience the playoffs," Washington said. "So we don't want to look too far ahead because we're living the moment with these guys and enjoying watching them."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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