Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said it’s not yet known if tight end Chris Cooley’s balky left knee will require surgery, but the coach remains hopeful that the eighth-year pro can make a full recovery and return to action for his team next season.
The Redskins on Tuesday placed Cooley on injured reserve, ending his season a week after he had surgery to repair a broken left index finger and a day after he had the knee examined by renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews.
“[Andrews is] the expert in that area and he thought it was in the best interest of Chris to go on IR, give it a little rest. Obviously he took the doctor’s advice, and we agreed with it,” Shanahan said.
Asked if Cooley would have surgery, Shanahan said, “I can’t say that. I think they’re going to give it some time after the hand, give his knee to get a little rehab on it, see how it goes.”
Cooley originally had arthroscopic surgery on the knee at the completion of the 2010 season. This offseason’s NFL lockout hampered his rehabilitation efforts because rules prevented players from stepping foot on team property or receiving treatment from the medical staff.
Cooley attempted to practice a handful of times during training camp and the preseason, but his knee repeatedly swelled up on him. He missed all four preseason games, but played in the first five games of the season before breaking his left index finger. He joins defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins, guard Kory Lichtensteiger and running back Tim Hightower on IR.
Fourth-year pro Fred Davis overtook Cooley as the team’s top tight end and has recorded 28 catches for a team-high 423 yards and two touchdowns. Cooley, meanwhile, posted eight catches for 65 yards. Two games this season he served as the team’s starting fullback with Darrel Young sidelined with injury.
There has been question involving Cooley’s future with the Redskins. He’ll turn 30 next July, his 2012 salary of $3.8 million isn’t guaranteed, and Davis is a free agent Washington likely would work to re-sign.
But Shanahan said that he still sees Cooley as a part of the team’s future.
“Hopefully real productive,” Shanahan said when asked what kind of a future he envisioned Cooley having in Washington. “Hopefully all the guys we have on IR can be productive, hoping to have them back, and hoping to have them playing at a high level.”
Cooley was at Redskins Park early Wednesday morning, but left around 10 a.m., roughly an hour before media availability began.