UPDATED: 5:13 p.m.
By Ryan OHalloran
Anticipating a return later in the season, Redskins tight end Chris Cooley saw his hopes end Tuesday when he was placed on injured reserve.
Cooley sustained a broken index finger in the Week 6 loss to Philadelphia and was also nursing a knee injury that kept him out of the preseason. It is the second time in three years he has ended the season on injured reserve.
Running back Tim Hightower, who tore his left ACL in Sundays loss at Carolina, was also placed on the list.
The Redskins did not announce who will take the two roster spots. It is expected that rookie Evan Royster will be elevated from the practice squad to take Hightowers spot.
Cooley ends his eighth year ranked fifth in catches and ninth in receiving yards and touchdown receptions, but the emergence of Fred Davis and Cooleys recent health history raises doubts to if he has played his last game in Washington despite his status as the most popular Redskins player.
Cooley underwent finger surgery last Wednesday and had his knee examined by team consultant James Andrews Sunday in Charlotte.
Last Friday in the Redskins locker room, Cooley thought he would be out at least four weeks but felt he would return at some point in the season.
During his Monday press conference, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was his normal evasive self when asked about Cooley's knee, saying he hadn't received a report from Andrews. That intimated the knee was a bigger issue than the finger.
A third-round pick by the Redskins in 2004 (Joe Gibbs' first draft back with the team), Cooley didn't miss a game until breaking his foot halfway through the 2009 season. He underwent surgery and was placed on injury reserve.
In his eight years with the Redskins, Cooley has 428 catches for 4,703 yards and 66 touchdowns. The lack of a preseason plus Davis' emergence limited Cooley to five catches and no touchdowns in five games this year.
Hightower started five of six games for the Redskins after being acquired in a trade with Arizona early in training camp. He rushed 84 times for 321 yards and was injured early in the third quarter against Carolina.