Redskins lose starting TE Paul to season-ending ankle injury

The Washington Redskins have been dealt a great deal of injuries concentrated in the secondary and at tight end so far this offseason. In the preseason opener on Thursday night, injury struck again.

Starting tight end Niles Paul injured his left ankle and was carted off the field. Paul was blocking on a run play when his left leg was rolled on by Browns linebacker Craig Robertson. It was a gruesome-looking injury and Paul was immediately ruled out for the game.

After the game, Coach Jay Gruden announced Paul had dislocated and fractured the ankle and is out for the season. “A huge loss for us. He’s a great player & and a great leader," Gruden said.

The fifth-year receiver out of Nebraska was coming off a breakout year in which he had 39 catches for 507 yards, and Paul had been enjoying a dominant training camp before going down. He capped Tuesday’s practice with a 55-yard touchdown reception and that was simply an exclamation mark on what he was able to accomplish during spring practices. After adding 10 pounds of muscle and showing improved blocking, Paul surprisingly had been named the starter on the team’s first depth chart.

The Redskins’ tight end situation is in dire straits now. Last year’s starter Jordan Reed has missed the past few practices with a hamstring injury, and he’s had a laundry list of lower body injuries dating to his college days. Logan Paulsen was listed on the depth chart behind Reed and Paul, but there is a strong chance that he will undergo season-ending toe surgery in the coming days.

There have been whispers that the Redskins might turn to former star tight end Chris Cooley, but Gruden told reporters on Tuesday that he wants to give the tight ends on his roster a chance before looking toward free agency.

(h/t @RapSheet)