How long will Cooley be out?

How long will Cooley be out?
October 19, 2011, 9:57 am
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In his always-outstanding Four Downs article posted here yesterday, Ryan OHalloran broaches the notion Chris Cooley may have played his last down for the Redskins. Lets look into that thought a bit further.Cooley, of course, will be sidelined with a broken index finger he suffered during the Eagles game. He will have surgery to repair the injury, presumably by having pins or screws inserted into it, on Wednesday.Although it is hard to say this early, the general prognosis for such an injury is in the four- to six-week range. That would have Cooley back sometime in mid-November or the first of December, certainly a point in the season where the Redskins games could be meaningful.

However, one reporter asked Mike Shanahan if Cooley might be out for the season. His answer was interesting:Hes going to get his index finger operated on Wednesday, and I think after the surgery I need to get some more opinions on his knee. We did rest it, and it did swell up again eventually. We need to know what the doctors think with the finger, with the knee, exactly where hell be at. Well listen to opinions over the next few days, especially after the surgery to make a decision for sure.In not giving a no or even a we sure hope not reply, Shanahan certainly left the door open to putting Cooley on season-ending injured reserve. It would seem to depend on his knee as much as his finger. The knee problem kept Cooley out of most of training camp and the preseason. He had not missed a game, but a red flag was raised last week after Cooley was limited in practice last week because he had to have some fluid drained from the knee.Whether Cooley goes on the shelf or comes back for the stretch run in December, his future with the team beyond 2011 is cloudy.Cooley has two years left on the six-year, 30 million contract extension he signed in 2007. He is slated to make 3.8 million next year and 3.85 million in 2013. Fred Davis has emerged as a potential star tight end, and his contract is up at the end of this season. The Redskins could choose to give Davis a healthy contract, a move that would leave them deciding if the salary cap could support two relatively high-priced tight ends.It is important to note that all of this is conjecture. A move to place Cooley on IR does not seem to be imminent. Perhaps Cooley could redo his deal to allow him to stay or the Redskins could decide to pay both him and Davis.The situation, however, does bear watching.