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Injury Aftermath: Week 4

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

During the 2020 season, injured reserve only requires that a player miss a minimum of three weeks, so teams will use that list more freely than in previous seasons. We will therefore distinguish between players placed on injured reserve (IR) and players who we expect to miss the rest of the season (Season).

Buccaneers Tight End O.J. Howard -- Achilles (Season)

The Buccaneers believe that O.J. Howard suffered a season-ending Achilles injury against the Chargers, though they are awaiting scan results to confirm the on-field diagnosis. If confirmed, Howard's season would indeed be over and he would require surgery, but he should still have time to recover before the start of the 2021 season. The Buccaneers have one of the deepest tight end groups in the sport, so Cameron Brate will likely step into Howard's role for the remainder of the season.

Halfback LeSean McCoy suffered an ankle injury, as did receiver Mike Evans. More specifics are not yet available.

49ers Edge Rusher Ezekiel Ansah -- Biceps (Season)

Another week, another major injury for the 49ers, this time to edge rusher Ezekiel Ansah. Ansah reportedly tore his biceps in the Sunday night loss against the Eagles, and he will require season-ending surgery.

Cornerback K'Waun Williams sprained his knee, and he is expected to miss time. Knee sprains to defensive backs are most commonly MCL injuries, which cause around half of injured players to miss at least four weeks. If the 49ers are fortunate, Williams' injury will be a milder sprain -- just over one in four players is able to return within two weeks -- however that has not been the general trend in Santa Clara this season.

Browns Halfback Nick Chubb -- Knee (IR)

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski announced that halfback Nick Chubb will be placed on injured reserve with the MCL sprain he suffered against the Cowboys, but the team does not expect the injury to require surgery. They expect Chubb to return in approximately six weeks. This is on the lengthier end of the scale for MCL injuries that do not require surgery, but it does fit within our projected timetable for a high-end Grade II MCL sprain.

Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi suffered an oblique injury, and the team will monitor his injury during the week.

The Browns do have some good news, however, as they expect to have tight end David Njoku return to practice from the injured reserve list this week.

Chargers Halfback Austin Ekeler -- Hamstring (IR)

The Chargers believe that Austin Ekeler suffered a serious hamstring injury against the Buccaneers and they are expected to place their primary running back on injured reserve. They do, however, expect him to return later in the year, and no reports thus far have indicated that Ekeler requires surgery. Just shy of 90% of halfbacks with hamstring injuries return within six weeks, and the remainder tend to be season-ending under the usual Injured Reserve system. The situation could be slightly different under this year's modified rules, but ordinarily, five or six weeks is the timetable for a player with a severe, but not season-ending, hamstring injury.


The following players left their respective games with concussion symptoms and enter the league protocol:

  • Buccaneers halfback Kenjon Barner
  • Jaguars tight end Tyler Eifert
  • Saints offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk
  • Texans tight end Jordan Akins

Based on our current data, a growing majority of players now miss at least one game following a diagnosed concussion, but around 80% return within two weeks.

Other Injuries

Bills quarterback Josh Allen hurt his left shoulder against the Raiders, but he asserted after the game that the injury "shouldn't inhibit anything." Cornerback Levi Wallace injured his ankle, but the injury is not considered a long-term issue.

Colts linebacker Darius Leonard injured his groin against the Bears. Just under half of groin injuries to linebackers cause missed games, and over 75% of players return within two weeks.

Cowboys center Joe Looney injured his ankle against the Browns and did not return. Rookie Tyler Biadasz replaced him in the lineup, and will be the stand-in if Looney misses time.

Eagles safety Rudy Ford and linebacker T.J. Edwards both left Sunday's win with hamstring injuries. Both are likely to miss the team's next game, but unless the injuries are unusually severe both should return in two or three weeks.

Jaguars injuries piled up during the defeat against the Bengals. Left tackle Cam Robinson injured his knee, linebacker Myles Jack his ankle, and cornerbacks CJ Henderson and D.J. Hayden suffered shoulder and hamstring injuries, respectively. Receiver Laviska Shenault also injured his hamstring. At least Hayden and Shenault are likely to miss the team's next game, but we have no specifics yet with which to project the other potential absences.

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold sprained the AC joint in his throwing shoulder on Thursday night against the Broncos, but he returned to the game. Despite that, he may miss the game against the Cardinals with the injury. Practice participation on Wednesday will tell us more about the health of his shoulder.

Panthers cornerback Eli Apple injured his hamstring against the Cardinals. Around two-thirds of hamstring injuries keep defensive backs out for at least one week, but most miss no more than a single game and 75% return within three weeks.


5 comments, Last at 06 Oct 2020, 11:22am

1 OJ Howard finally had a QB…

OJ Howard finally had a QB who could throw a deep seam route that wasn't a pick 50% of the time, and his Achilles implodes.

2 Darnold injuring his…

Darnold injuring his throwing shoulder should not noticeably affect the Jets offense.