Starting Redskins tight end Niles Paul on Thursday suffered a season-ending injury to his left ankle in the 2015 preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns.
The first-team Washington Redskins offense received a huge blow Thursday evening in its 2015 preseason opener, when starting tight end Niles Paul suffered a gruesome left ankle injury.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said the injury -- classified as a fracture or a dislocation -- will keep Paul out for the season.
"It's a huge loss for us, really," Gruden said. "One, he's a great player, he's worked so hard to get himself where he is, but two, he's a great leader for this football team and the staff and the players, we're sick about it right now, and he's going to be okay, I'm sure, but it's a major loss for us."
Check out images of veteran tight end Niles Paul during the 2015 offseason.
The injury occurred in the first quarter of the Redskins' matchup against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Paul, blocking on the play for running back Chris Thompson, was tangled up with a Browns defender, and replays showed his left ankle was twisted at an awkward angle.
Paul had to be carted off the field, where he underwent further medical testing.
The Redskins were already hurting at the tight end position prior to Thursday night's game. Jordan Reed did not play against the Browns with a sore hamstring, and veteran Logan Paulsen could miss significant time with a big toe injury.
Remaining on the Washington roster at tight end are youngsters Je'Ron Hamm, Chase Dixon and rookie Devin Mahina.
"It puts a lot of pressure on us," Gruden said. "Fortunately, we've worked on a lot of personnel groups, but with Logan's status and now Niles, those are two physical players at the tight end spot, which really has a big impact on our running game,"
Gruden said "somebody else is going to have to step up" at the position.
"But we have some time," the second-year head coach cautioned. "We have three weeks before our first game -- we'll have to figure it out."