Mike Shanahan looked up at the video scoreboard, and though the pain was in Jarvis Jenkins’s right kneee, the Redskins coach could see the injury in the rookie's face.
"You never know for sure, but when somebody reacts like that, usually it's something pretty serious," Shanahan said.
Jenkins, the team’s second-round pick out of Clemson, suffered the torn ACL in last Thursday's game and is now gone for the year. The Redskins practiced for the first time without him on Saturday.
"It's always tough. You have a hard time even focusing on the game when something like that occurs so early in the game," said Shanahan. "He's going to be an excellent player in the National Football League — everything you look for in a person and everything you look for as a football player. Always hurts to lose a potential great player like that."
The loss along the defensive line certainly stings, and Jenkins' absence will be noticed as the season goes on, Shanahan said.
"Obviously, you cannot replace a player like that. You just can't replace him," Shanahan said. "Guys have to step up and play extremely well."
The Redskins rely heavily on a rotation of linemen. Third-stringer Darrion Scott immediately entered last Thursday’s game in Jenkins’s place and all the defensive linemen realize they have to step up.
"I think I had a pretty good camp," said defensive end Doug Worthington. "I think I was in the thick of things. When Jenks got hurt, it was unfortunate, but it just opened doors for a lot of guys, a lot of possibilities. You got to keep your mind straight. But at the end of the day, it does help guys like myself."
The Redskins could always try to find a veteran free agent to come in and add some depth along the line, though most of the top players have been off the market for weeks.
"It's always hard to lose one of those big guys because you can't find them on the street," Shanahan said. "They're hard to find."
Jenkins’s injury also solidified Adam Carriker’s role among the starters. Carriker missed the Redskins’ past two preseason games with flesh wounds on his heels but returned to the practice field Saturday. Shanahan is hopeful Carriker can get some snaps in Thursday's game against Tampa Bay.
Still, players say Jenkins's talent along the line and enthusiasm in the locker room will be missed this season.
"Obviously the guy can play, he's big, he's fast," Carriker said. "But to me, it was the way he played the game. He was so enthusiastic, so happy. He just loved it. You could just see it."