The Washington Football Team will place quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on injured reserve with a hip subluxation.
Head coach Ron Rivera confirmed the news with reporters on Monday after an initial report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Per the report, nothing indicates that Fitzpatrick's injury is season-ending. It's not clear how long he'll be sidelined. Rivera told reporters he doesn't know if he'll be available to play after three weeks.
Fitzpatrick suffered the injury during Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Chargers after a hit by linebacker Uchenna Nwosu. His placement on injured reserve requires that he'll miss at least three games.
He left the game and was replaced by backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who will take Fitzpatrick's place moving forward. An MRI on Monday confirmed Sunday's initial diagnosis of a hip subluxation. A subluxation occurs when the ball of a hip joint is not completely in the socket.
Washington signed Fitzpatrick this offseason following Alex Smith's retirement and the late-season release of Dwayne Haskins. Armed with one of the NFL's best defenses and young offensive weapons like receiver Terry McLaurin and running back Antonio Gibson, WFT hoped the 38-year-old veteran could lead the team to a second straight NFC East title and an improvement on last season's 7-9 finish.
Will Washington pursue Cam Newton, somebody else?
Heinicke, 28, will start in Thursday's division game against the New York Giants and beyond. Rivera told reporters on Monday that Kyle Allen will back-up Heinicke and that the team has signed quarterback Kyle Shurmur to its practice squad.
A relative unknown prior to last year's playoffs, Heinicke performed admirably in Washington's 31-23 Wild-Card round loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in January. Heinicke had only played a total of 126 NFL snaps prior to facing off with Tom Brady's Bucs.
Heinicke completed 26 of 44 pass attempts for 306 yards with a touchdown and an interception while starting for an injured Smith. He also rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown against a menacing Bucs defense that harassed Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes en route to last season's Super Bowl championship.
Heinicke's performance earned the journeyman a two-year contract in Washington with incentives tied to starts. Washington's signing of Fitzpatrick appeared to tank his chance to hit those incentives, but he'll now apparently get a chance to show what he can do with extended playing time. That is unless Washington seeks to replace Fitzpatrick via trade or free agency. Rivera told reporters that the team doesn't plan to bring in any other quarterbacks "as of now."
"We have a short week," Rivera said. "We'll go through the week, and we'll go from there.'
The most glaring name available is Cam Newton, whom the New England Patriots released prior to Week 1. Newton and Washington head coach Ron Rivera have a long relationship from their time together with the Carolina Panthers which included a run to the Super Bowl and Newton's 2015 MVP campaign. There are no reports indicating that Washington is interested in Newton.