ASHBURN, Va. — Rookie defensive lineman Jonathan Allen isn’t returning to the Washington Redskins lineup any time soon, a blow to their revamped defense but one they believe they can survive.
The team put the first-round pick on injured reserve Thursday after he underwent surgery to repair a Lisfranc sprain in his left foot. Coach Jay Gruden said there’s “absolutely” a chance Allen can return this season despite the usually long timeframe to get back from this kind of operation.
“We got better news after the surgery that it wouldn’t be as lengthy as some of these surgeries typically are,” Gruden said. “That’s good news, but we still have to rehab it. He’s a big man and sometimes bigger guys take a little bit longer but we’ll wait and see.”
The Redskins now have Allen and kicker Dustin Hopkins on IR and by NFL rules can bring up to two players back before the season is over. They signed A.J. Francis to the practice squad and then the active roster to fill Allen’s spot.
Allen, the 17th overall pick out of Alabama, played well in his first five NFL games, registering 10 tackles and a sack and providing plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
“Jonathan is an extremely talented guy,” second-year defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis said. “He has incredible potential, incredible talent.”
Gruden likes that Allen plays “like a veteran” despite his youth and lack of experience.
“He’s got strong hands and he was getting a pretty consistent pass rush push,” Gruden said Monday. “He doesn’t have a lot of sacks obviously, but he was getting push in the pocket which was critical for the interior guys so the edge guys can get home.”
Allen’s injury puts more of an onus on Ioannidis and Anthony Lanier to take on bigger roles. Ioannidis, a 2016 fifth-round pick, has thrived already with more playing time and is tied for second on the team with 3.5 sacks.
Lanier has made some strides since Washington signed him as an undrafted free agent before last season, so much that veteran teammates think he can keep the Redskins from missing a beat without Allen.
“He has all the ability in the world and he’s capable of doing the same job if not better,” defensive lineman Ziggy Hood said. “We believe that he’s going to have a good game (Monday at Philadelphia) because we trust him.”
After the defense missed at least four sacks of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz in a 30-17 loss in Week 1, the line has settled in to a strong rotation of Hood, Ioannidis, Allen and free agent additions Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain. Lanier now gets thrown into that, and coaches are eager to see how he delivers after getting stronger in the weight room.
“We’ll see how it translates on game day,” Gruden said. “He will be a part of the rotation, not just on third down. He might have to play some early downs. He is a guy that hopefully is getting better not just at rushing the passer, but playing the run.”
NOTES: LT Trent Williams (knee) did not practice, but after he played through injury against the 49ers he’s expected to play again Monday. … CBs Josh Norman (rib) and Bashaud Breeland (knee), RB Rob Kelley (ankle), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), LB Ryan Anderson (back) and S Stefan McClure (knee) were limited participants. … Gruden said Backup OL Tyler Catalina is in the concussion protocol. … With Hopkins out, the team signed K Nick Rose on Wednesday. Gruden said Rose, an undrafted 23-year-old out of Texas, made all his field goals and was the best of four kickers who worked out this week.
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed.