23 Dec 2013
compiled by Andrew Potter
Von Miller joins the growing list of all-pro caliber defenders on injured reserve with ACL tears, as the right knee injury sustained during Sunday's game ends his season. Entering Sunday's contest Miller had 14 Defeats in nine games, with five sacks and three forced fumbles. His loss will be a major blow to the struggling Broncos defense, which had averaged a solid -8.5% DVOA in games he played after averaging a very bad 15.4% DVOA in his absence.
One other Denver injury: center Steve Vallos was concussed during the game and enters the league protocol.
Tony Romo is set to have a MRI scan today on a reported back strain, having been in obvious pain at various times during Sunday's victory over Washington. Jason Garrett also made reference to a foot injury for the star quarterback. He is not expected to miss time with either ailment.
Early indications are that Clay Matthews re-injured his recently repaired thumb during Sunday's defeat. Scans today will reveal the severity of the injury, which if confirmed as a recurrence of his Bennett's fracture would end his season. Despite having missed a quarter of the season with the previous injury and having played with a cast in every game since, Matthews has 14 Defeats, leads the Packers in sacks, and would be a significant loss to a bad Packers defense (12.6% DVOA, 30th). Fellow linebacker Brad Jones also left with an unspecified ankle injury, leaving the Packers again thin at an injury-plagued position.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera has confirmed a PCL sprain for Steve Smith, ruling the veteran receiver out of Week 17's game but leaving open the possibility of a postseason return. Perennially Carolina's leading receiver when healthy over the past decade, Smith's 58 DYAR and -5.5% DVOA would be his worst marks for a full season since Cam Newton became the Panthers quarterback. Ted Ginn (65 DYAR, 2.4% DVOA) is expected to start in Smith's stead. Defensive tackle Colin Cole left the game with a calf injury; no news is yet public on the severity of that.
Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has reportedly confirmed that Jake Long tore the ACL in his right knee on Sunday and will miss the team's final game of the season.
A broken ankle ends a promising rookie season for Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro, who had totaled 77 tackles, one interception, one sack, one forced fumble, 15 Defeats and a Stop Rate of 40% in 14 games (all of which he started) entering Sunday. Roman Harper is listed as his backup on the Saints official website.
After leaving Sunday's game with a worrying knee injury, Emmanuel Sanders has been termed "questionable" for Pittsburgh's season finale against Cleveland by coach Mike Tomlin. The same designation was applied to linebacker Terence Garvin, who left Sunday's game with a knee sprain. Receiver Markus Wheaton (finger fracture) and linebacker Jason Worilds (abdomen) were included in Tomlin's post-game injury discussion, but neither is expected to miss Week 17.
The Houston Texans lost top cornerback Johnathan Joseph, running backs Dennis Johnson and Deji Karim, and tight end Brad Smelley during Sunday's loss to Denver. No update is yet public on the severity of any of those injuries.
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Our offseason Four Downs series ends with a look at the NFC West's biggest remaining holes and their most notable UDFA signings. The Rams and 49ers have to kick-start their passing games, Arizona's offense lacks a big dimension, and the Seahawks continue to rely on Russell Wilson's magic tricks.