Starting inside linebacker Perry Riley will have surgery to repair the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said Friday.
Riley is expected to miss three to six weeks, meaning it’s possible he’ll miss the remainder of the regular season. After Monday night’s showdown with the rival Cowboys, the Redskins have four games left to play.
Riley suffered the injury while making a cut in practice on Thursday. He’s the third Redskins' defensive starter to suffer a major injury in practice, joining Junior Galette and Chris Culliver.
“He was playing well, very well,” Gruden said. “The last two weeks he’s been outstanding for us, playing with a lot of confidence. It’s a big loss.”
Indeed, Riley had put an injury-plagued start behind him and was playing his best football in recent weeks. After failing to record a tackle in New England, the 27-year-old averaged seven tackles the past the contests and snagged two interceptions.
With Riley out, the Redskins’ starting inside linebackers on Monday will be Will Compton and either Keenan Robinson or Mason Foster. Robinson has been sidelined three games with a shoulder injury; Foster has played 17 snaps on defense this season, though he has extensive starting experience from his tenure in Tampa.
“We’re preparing like Mason will start,” Gruden said. “If Keenan will go, you know, we’ll see from there.”
Gruden added: “I think Mason has done a good job in the time that he’s been here. He hasn’t had a lot of reps on game day, but out at practice he’s had a lot of reps. He knows the defense. He’s veteran guy, a physical guy. I think he’ll step in and do fine.”
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry said his unit feels bad for Riley but must move ahead—quickly.
“Kind of like last week with Cully,” Barry said. “You feel horrible for the player. Especially with Perry, just the way he’s been playing the last three or four weeks. He’s really been feeling good and playing his butt off. Of course, we mourn individually for the player. But as a unit, as a group, we got to move on. Guys have done a good job with that—not flinching. The next man will step up, and we’ll keep moving a million miles an hour forward and not flinch.”