Washington Redskins strong safety Phillip Thomas, part of a young secondary that viewed itself as the future, suffered a Lisfranc ligament tear of his left foot and will miss the season, coach Mike Shanahan said.
The fourth-round pick had been working with the Redskins’ second-string defense, though he started in place of Brandon Meriweather in the first preseason game.
Thomas suffered the injury in Washington’s preseason-opening win over Tennessee. On Saturday, Shanahan said initial X-rays had ruled out a fracture as well as a Lisfranc tear. But Thomas visited noted foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday. With the swelling subsided, Anderson took another X-ray, which showed the ligament tear. Thomas will undergo surgery and face a recovery period of four to five months.
Thomas was not projected to start this season, but the Redskins were hoping for increased depth at a shaky spot. A week ago defensive backs coach Raheem Morris said that Thomas had really figured out how to play in the box. He had started to figure out where to fit against various runs -- it changed based on numerous factors, much more than he had faced at Fresno State.
Because of that, it would not have been a stretch to see him work his way into the lineup, especially since Meriweather is coming off a torn ACL last season and has been limited much of camp. He did take most of the full-team reps Monday, but was held back Tuesday. The Redskins also have veterans Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes, both of whom are best suited as backups. The coaches like Doughty for how well prepared he is and for how he plays in the box. Gomes is better closer to the line as well, but can play deep.
"You lose a guy, the competition still goes on," Shanahan said. "We have a lot of quality players out there."