During one play in 11-on-11 drills last Thursday, Redskins running back Roy Helu Jr. took a handoff, raced to the outside, turned the corner and sprinted 15 yards into the end zone.

Sure, it was just a no-contact, helmets-and-shorts OTA session. And, sure, it came against backups.

But for Helu, it also marked a turning point in his recovery from a toe injury that cost him 13 games last season. The practice was just his second since he landed on injured reserve with a toe injury last September.

“It felt good,” Helu said about putting on a helmet and jersey for the first time in almost nine months. “I felt like my jersey was smaller, so that gave me a little more confidence that maybe I gained a little more muscle.”

After experiencing little improvement during months of rehab for soreness near his big toe, the 24-year-old opted to have surgery in February. Then last week, noted foot and ankle specialist Robert Anderson, the Charlotte-based doctor who made the repair, gave Helu medical clearance to begin practicing.

“It’s good enough to compete out there, and at a better level than I was before I got hurt,” Helu said.

He participated in two practices last week and said he expects to be full-go when mandatory minicamp gets underway Tuesday at Redskins Park.

“It was perfect timing,” he said. “I’m thankful that I’m going to get [a few] practices under my belt.”

Asked if the toe injury was completely healed, Helu was as elusive as his running style.