Will Blackmon was removed from Sunday's game against the Bengals with a thumb injury that will require surgery but may not force him out of any game action.
Washington Redskins safety Will Blackmon will have surgery on his thumb, head coach Jay Gruden announced on Monday.
Check out behind the scenes images from Safety, Will Blackmon's 2016 Redskins Photo Shoot.
The hope is that he'll still be able to play – while potentially wearing a cast – when the Redskins return to game action on Nov. 13 to take on the Minnesota Vikings at FedExField.
Blackmon, 32, began the season as DeAngelo Hall's backup at the strong safety position, but was pushed into the starting lineup after the three-time Pro Bowler suffered a torn ACL in the Redskins' Week 3 victory over the New York Giants.
In his first four starts – against the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions – Blackmon collected 19 tackles while appearing on 234 of the defense's 249 snaps.
Blackmon appeared on just 43 snaps against the Bengals, though, before being sidelined with the injury.
While he may be only five starts into his transition to the safety position after a successful run as an NFL cornerback, Blackmon has become a key component on the Redskins' defensive unit.
"He's getting better and better," Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry said recently. "The thing that sometimes I have to be careful with because Will is so experienced and he is so football savvy and he's very aware and really understands football, I've got to be careful with overloading him and not playing him in too many different spots because he is playing a new position full-time for the first time. But, as far as his progression, I am happy with where he is at, he's getting better every single day, every single week."
If Blackmon is to miss any time, the Redskins could lean on one of their co-starters at strong safety to shift over to the free safety spot.
That's what happened on Sunday when Duke Ihenacho came in to replace Blackmon. The San Jose State product collected four tackles on 44 defensive plays.
Donte Whitner Sr., meanwhile, appears to have solidified himself as the starting strong safety on Washington's defense, as he's played every single snap the last two weeks after being signed on Oct. 5.
Second-year Texas A&M product Deshazor Everett, a special teams standout, could also be called into action should the Redskins need him on defense.
But if the entire safeties group is healthy, Washington will continue to use their veteran trio based on strengths while Everett will remain in waiting for a potential change.
"There's some where Duke [and I] are on the field together. There's some where Duke and Will Blackmon are on the field together," Whitner Sr. said recently. "We can just mix and match. It just gives them something else to think about, something else to prepare for throughout the week. It should be really good for us."