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Josh Norman calls Thursday's workout 'huge step'

ASHBURN, Virginia – Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman still hurts when he sneezes, yawns or coughs. He still must sleep on his back at night, or risk feeling more pain from his fractured rib. But he did take one step on Thursday toward his eventual return, working out in the weight room for the first time since his injury.

Norman did some light work on the treadmill and elliptical machines and did lower body weight work. It’s the first time he has been able to do anything since suffering a fractured rib in an Oct. 3 game at Kansas City. The original timetable was 2-4 weeks, which still appears to be accurate.

Norman wasn’t sure what Thursday’s progress meant for his return, just that it was a good sign.

“It’s a huge step,” Norman said. “Just to get back in there and do some work. I was doing nothing for a week-and-a-half, laying down and taking it easy and now getting back in the weight room for the first time ... yeah, man, it was a big step.”

Norman still hasn’t run on the field, a next step in his recovery that likely wouldn’t occur until some point next week. All he’s doing now, he said, was minimum stuff.

With Norman out Sunday, the Redskins will use corner Quinton Dunbar. They’ll likely shift Bashaud Breeland from the right side to the left where Norman has played. Norman likes playing press-man coverage as does Dunbar. But Dunbar does it more often; in camp he was one of the Redskins most aggressive corners at the line in terms of jamming receivers.

Rookie Fabian Moreau might play more as well.

For Norman, it’s all about the recovery. He said it took longer than expected for him to be cleared for any activity. In hindsight that’s not surprising given that it still bothers him to yawn. He said over the last 10 days it’s as “much as I’ve ever yawned in my life.”

He called Wednesday “shocking” because he realized he wouldn’t be playing Sunday – and he had yet to resume any activity.

“It kind of hit me. This sucks,” he said. “I was going through it. ... I’ve started all these games, played through all kinds of injuries. It caught me a little bit. I had to sit back and realize, this is kind of serious. When I was cleared for the weight room I was excited because it was the first time I could do something.”

Norman has appeared in 41 consecutive regular-season games, last sitting out in Week 7 of 2014.