Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan expressed optimism on Monday afternoon regarding Chris Neild's MRI, saying he hoped the tests returned negative on Neild's injured knee.
Neild, a seventh-round draft pick in 2011, had a breakout debut in Week 1 last season, sacking Giants' quarterback Eli Manning twice in eight snaps.
Neild developed behind Barry Cofield at nose tackle last season, and earned the praise of defensive line coach Jacob Burney earlier in training camp.
"I'm excited about that kid; he's just getting better and better and better," Burney said. "You talk about dependable: he's solid, thick, and keeps the linebackers clean.
"He's far exceeded [my expectations], and we got a gem in a late round."
Neild backed that praise with another strong performance in Buffalo, finishing with two tackles and a sack of Bills quarterback Vince Young.
After the game, Neild said he finally felt comfortable at the NFL nose tackle and expected to make major strides in 2012.
"Last year was pretty good, we had a pretty good defense," Neild said. "But we're looking to improve this year, and I think I can help. I think my transition is coming along pretty well."
Now, Neild's development will be delayed until next season, as a torn ACL in Monday's practice ends his season.
Shanahan reported the MRI results:
"He has an ACL [injury], and unfortunately, he's gone for the season," Shanahan said. "I believe the meniscus was fine. It's strictly an ACL. It takes about six months recovery time.
"It's always disappointing when there's a season-ending injury for any player on your football team. You hate it for them. You hate it for the team," he continued. "But Chris is a fighter, and it's just a temporary setback for him."