A season of promise for the Washington Redskins has taken a cruel turn with injuries to Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker on defense.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan confirmed Monday that Orakpo, his star outside linebacker, tore his left pectoral in Sunday's 31-28 loss to the St. Louis Rams.
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Carriker, the sixth-year defensive end, suffered a quad tendon tear and won't see the field again in 2012. Both players are scheduled to undergo surgery this week.
The news is especially painful for Orakpo, whose 2011 season was cut short with a similar injury. He aggravated the pectoral muscle again during the preseason and never appeared 100 percent healthy.
Sunday's setback was initially viewed as a week-to-week situation, but the Redskins now must move forward without their most dynamic pass rusher.
"He can do it all," Shanahan said of Orakpo. He's everything you look at in a Pro Bowl linebacker."
Shanahan, forced to turn the page, named backup defensive lineman Chris Baker and practice-squad body Doug Worthington as candidates to step into a larger role in Carriker's absence.
Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson will fight for time at outside linebacker, but the falloff from Orakpo is mountain-side steep.
This is a devastating loss for the Redskins, who now pick up the pieces of their shattered front seven on the heels of losing a heartbreaker to the Rams.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.