Although Tim Hightower was optimistic that an injury to his knee won’t keep him out of the lineup for too long, the Redskins are expecting the worst. According to multiple reports, the team’s medical staff believes that an MRI this morning will show that Hightower has a torn ACL. If that is the case, Hightower will undergo season-ending surgery.
If that is the case and Hightower is put on injured reserve, look for rookie Evan Royster to be moved up from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Mike Shanahan said that the rookie from Penn State nearly beat out Ryan Torain for the final running back spot in training camp.
The Redskins might make a move to bring up Royster even if Hightower’s injury is one that will keep him out for a few weeks or so rather than ending his season. Shanahan likes to have three functioning running backs on the roster. Last year, he signed James Davis, Chad Simpson, and Andre Brown at various times when Torain and Clinton Portis were sidelined with injuries.
Hightower’s absence would elevate Torain to the top running back position. He is a solid back but he has been prone to the injury bug. His rookie season was cut short, very short, after two games with a knee injury. He missed four games last year with a hamstring injury.
Rookie Roy Helu, who has played well in spots in the first six games this year, would be elevated to the No. 2 back position.
Royster showed that he might not quite be ready during training camp as he frequently seemed to be slow cutting to daylight and had issues in pass protection. But he likely is preferable to the options on the veteran free agent market, which has such names as former Redskins Ladell Betts and Portis plus others such as LenDale White and Julius Jones.