Huskies planning a ‘gradual buildup’ for Jake Browning’s workload this spring

The star quarterback played through a shoulder injury over the last month of the 2016 season.

It was a small circle of folks in and around the Washington football program that were aware of the condition of Jake Browning’s right shoulder late last fall. The Huskies worked hard to keep the star quarterback’s injury a secret.

Wide receiver Dante Pettis was one of the few who knew what Browning was playing through over the final month of the season.

“We could tell. Some people thought he was just making bad passes, but we could tell it was hurting him,” Pettis said. “And we obviously appreciate that he worked through it.”

For Pettis, there was never a question of whether Browning would play through the injury.

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“There’s no way — nothing’s going to keep him out of the game,” Pettis said.

Spring ball is a different story. After having surgery in January to repair his throwing shoulder, Browning didn’t do much during the Huskies’ first practice Monday morning.

He was in his No. 3 practice jersey, went through stretching with teammates and made some light warmup tosses to a trainer on the sideline, but Browning was held out of team passing drills. Instead, as other quarterbacks took the snaps, he stood alone some 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage, reading the defensive alignments and then mimicking the footwork and throws and as the play unfolded.

There’s no need to rush Browning back now, more than five months before the Sept. 1 season opener at Rutgers. UW coach Chris Petersen said there will be a “gradual buildup” with Browning’s workload this spring.

“We’re not trying to win spring ball,” Petersen said Monday. “We’re trying to get guys ready to improve each day, so we’ve had this planned since right after the season, how we wanted to use him.”

Browning was not made available for interviews after practice Monday. He…

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