- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2014

Midway through the fourth quarter on Sunday, DeAngelo Hall hobbled out of the tunnel at Lincoln Financial Field, a crutch under each arm and an air cast on his left ankle, and rejoined his Washington Redskins teammates on the sideline.

Despite the best wishes of his team’s athletic training staff, Hall couldn’t stay in the locker room. He needed to see first-hand how the Redskins would fare at the end of their game against Philadelphia — at one point even pulling his replacement, rookie Bashaud Breeland, aside for additional coaching.

Hall will remain a spectator for the foreseeable future, with the results of an MRI examination confirming the team’s worst fears Monday morning. One of the Redskins‘ starting cornerbacks and their defensive captain, Hall tore his left Achiles’ tendon in the third quarter of their 37-34 loss — an injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season and will likely put his availability for offseason workouts into question.

“I’m not a spring chicken, so I’ve got to make sure I get it done the right way and have got to be as patient with it as possible,” Hall said. “Attack this rehab and get back out here on this field.”

The 30-year-old Hall, in his 11th season, hasn’t played fewer than 10 games since he was a rookie in Atlanta in 2004 and has never had a season end prematurely because of injury. He has not missed a game since 2009, when he missed three after spraining his right knee.

Hall said he will undergo surgery at a later date, though when that will happen hasn’t been determined. After six weeks in a cast, he’ll begin his rehabilitation; though he hasn’t been given an exact timetable, the typical timeframe for full recovery from surgery to repair a torn Achilles is between seven to nine months.

That would put Hall back on the field next spring, potentially around April or May at the earliest — well after the Redskins would have started their offseason workout program. Hall signed a four-year, $17 million contract in February, though that contract is only guaranteed through the 2015 season.

“He was voted captain for a reason,” said coach Jay Gruden. “Guys look up to him. He’s a veteran guy that has that experience that you can’t coach.”

Breeland replaced Hall for the remainder of the game on Sunday, with David Amerson continuing in his role on the right side and E.J. Biggers remaining the team’s nickel corner.

It’s uncertain if that will remain the plan for Thursday, when the Redskins host the New York Giants; Gruden said there’s a chance Tracy Porter, who has been ailing with a hamstring strain since late in the preseason, may be healthy enough to make his debut.

Hall was playing off Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin with 10:36 left in the quarter when, after quarterback Nick Foles completed a pass over the middle to running back Darren Sproles, Hall tried to change direction to make the tackle.

He originally believed that his left leg had been stepped on, and it wasn’t until he saw the replay later on that he realized nobody was near him. Maclin, realizing Hall was down, motioned for athletic trainers to come to Hall’s aid as soon as the play had ended.

“I thought I just had a calf strain or something, and it wasn’t until the doctors came and kind of felt on it a little bit [that I knew],” Hall said. “They tried to get the cart and I was like, ‘No, let me walk off of here,’ so they helped carry me off the field.”

Hall said he reached out to several athletes Sunday night who have torn their Achilles’ tendon — most notably Kobe Bryant, who did so in 2013. Bryant’s advice, Hall said, was to remain patient, even when he believes that he may be able to increase the workload in his rehabilitation.

If the return to the field on Sunday is any indication, Hall may have trouble heeding such orders. As a veteran, he has built an emotional connection with the team’s younger players, especially Amerson and Breeland, which is why he felt it was important to impart his wisdom as the seconds ticked away.

“I was just trying to coach them up — just trying to let them know, ‘Now is the time,’” Hall said. “It’s their time to go out there and make plays. We need them. We need them now more than ever.

“[I’m] just trying to stay positive with them and trying to keep them going, keep them encouraged, and let them know, man, it’s still football. If I’m out there or if I’m not out there, it’s still football. It’s still the same thing I’ve been doing for years, so you know, don’t lose sight of that.”

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