Redskins tight end Niles Paul is still on the mend after suffering devastating ankle injury during a preseason game in August but he expects to be back in action when the team takes the field to start preparations for the 2016 season in the spring.
Paul signed a new two-year contract in the spring but he suffered a dislocated ankle during the Redskins’ preseason opener against the Browns. That landed him on injured reserve and he watched as Jordan Reed, who was behind him on the depth chart, had a breakout season.
While Paul cheered Reed and the rest of his teammates on while watching games on TV from his home, he felt detached from the team. He made a habit of going in to Redskins Park early in the day to get his rehab work out of the way before his teammates came in to work. It didn’t quite feel right, he said.
“It was just a weird place for three or four months because you go from every year playing football over this period of time to not playing at all, at home, sitting down, watching the games, so it was tough to watch that,” he said.
Paul is coming around but the rehab is very much a work in progress.
“I was jogging 80 percent, I'm sure I could jog on the treadmill now,” he said. “We're going to take it slow. I'm going to see Dr. [Robert] Anderson [noted foot specialist in Charlotte, NC] in a couple of months. But we're progressing and I'm excited about the progress.”
At this point there is no hurry for Paul to be in playing shape. The team does not gather on the field until organized team activities start in May.
“I talked to [head athletic trainer] Larry [Hess] and if everything goes as planned I'll be back for OTAs,” said Paul.
The team went through a number of players trying to find another tight end to work with Reed. Paul was coming off of a career-best season in 2014 and he and Reed would have made quite a tandem. The Redskins hope to see them teamed up in 2016.