8:18pm: Washington tight end Niles Paul dislocated his ankle during the team’s preseason game tonight, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). According to Rapoport, Paul will undergo an MRI to see if the ligaments are still intact.
Paul, who turned 26 on Sunday, had a breakout season for Washington in 2014, catching 39 balls for 507 yards, after having recorded just 14 receptions in his first three seasons. He had appeared poised to play a role in the offense once again this season, but his ankle injury figures to sideline him for at least part of the year.
In 2014, Paul’s teammate Robert Griffin III suffered a dislocated ankle and returned to the field seven weeks later. However, if Paul sustained significant ligament damage in addition to dislocating the ankle, it seems likely that he’d be on the shelf for longer than that.
Paul is the second Washington tight end whose season has been placed in jeopardy this week, as Logan Paulsen may require toe surgery that would sideline him for most or all of the year. Jordan Reed is also nursing a hamstring injury, though it’s not believed to be as serious.
Former Washington tight end Chris Cooley recently expressed interest in rejoining his old team, but John Keim of ESPN.com (Twitter link) says he’s been told a few times that Cooley isn’t an option for the club. Keim wonders if that stance will change at all, given Washington’s injury woes at the position.