- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2007

Tackle Jon Jansen suffered a fractured dislocation of his right ankle yesterday and likely won’t play again this season, a serious blow to the offense of the Washington Redskins.

The stalwart right tackle was cut down from behind early in the second quarter by Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, who rolled onto Jansen’s legs while sacking Jason Campbell. Jansen lay on the ground writhing in pain and immediately pulled off his helmet.

“When he was lying right there beside me hollering, I knew it was probably something bad,” Campbell said. “I looked at his foot, and I didn’t need to look at it anymore.”

That was a common sentiment.

“His foot was reversed backwards, and it was pushing through his skin,” Dolphins defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday said. “It was nasty. Bloody.”

The nine-year veteran is expected to undergo season-ending surgery this week. The injury was the second significant one for Jansen, who missed the entire 2004 season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the first preseason game. Maryland product Stephon Heyer, a rookie, filled in for Jansen.

Jansen, the longest tenured player on the team, was not available for comment after the game. The Redskins, meanwhile, started to come to terms with the setback.

“The guys all said a prayer for Jon,” said coach Joe Gibbs, who did not know the severity of the injury immediately after the game. “There is nobody that had better preparation for this year.”

Jansen pumped his arms to the crowd as he was carted off the field after what likely was his final play of the season.

Heyer, an undrafted free agent who was considered a long shot to even make the team, was activated largely so he could give left tackle Chris Samuels, who missed the entire preseason with a sprained right knee, some rest.

“It was magical that I was put in, and I am really blessed,” said Heyer, who had never played right tackle at any level. “Although I feel for Jon, I once again had to come up to the forefront.”

Heyer struggled at times but still helped the Redskins gain 191 yards rushing. His role next week in Philadelphia is unclear; backup right tackle Todd Wade, on the inactive list yesterday, could fill in for Jansen.

“Let me rest on that one for a couple of days,” assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel said. “We don’t practice until Thursday, so we’ve got plenty of time to figure it out.”

About the only thing known is that the star right tackle likely is gone for the season and that he won’t easily be replaced.

“I thought Jon got hit in the face at first, so we’re like, ‘Get up, big guy,’ ” center and close friend Casey Rabach said. “And then I saw his ankle, and I was like, ‘Whoo!’ Jon’s such a competitor. No one works harder than he does. It’s real hard to accept getting hurt like he did.”

And the Redskins now must move on without one of their core players.

“He’s a guy that has been around here for a while,” Campbell said. “We are going to miss him.”

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