Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Sep 2017

Injury Aftermath: Week 1

by Andrew Potter

Jaguars Receiver Allen Robinson -- Knee (IR)

Allen Robinson will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL on his sole reception against Houston. The Jaguars' leading receiver in each of the past two seasons, Robinson was expected to fill the same role this year. Now he is unlikely to be fully recovered from his injury by the time his contract expires this coming February. In his absence, Allen Hurns is expected to return to the starting lineup alongside Marqise Lee.

Bears Receiver Kevin White -- Shoulder (IR)

The Bears believe that receiver Kevin White suffered his third season-ending injury in three seasons during the team's defeat against Atlanta. The former first-round pick reportedly suffered a broken collarbone which will require season-ending surgery. This report has not yet been officially confirmed, but assuming it is correct the seventh overall pick in 2015 will end his third year in the league with only five games played.

Chiefs Safety Eric Berry -- Achilles (IR)

One of football's greatest success stories, Eric Berry battled back from Hodgkin's lymphoma to again become one of the league's best safeties and signed a huge contract extension during the offseason to remain in Kansas City. A key player in 2016's seventh-ranked pass defense by our numbers, Berry will miss the rest of the 2017 season after suffering a torn Achilles in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's upset win in New England. Veteran Daniel Sorensen is expected to replace Berry in the lineup, at least initially, with 2016 fourth-round pick Eric Murray and former Seahawks backup Steven Terrell providing additional cover.

Cardinals Halfback David Johnson -- Wrist

David Johnson suffered a sprained wrist against Detroit, and reports of the injury's severity remain pure conjecture at this point. Some reports suggest that Johnson could miss half the season, some that he could miss no time at all, and others any value in between. X-rays have confirmed that the wrist is not fractured, at least, so an MRI scan will be taken to assess the potential ligament damage. When more definitive news is available, we will update this post accordingly.

Also, left tackle D.J. Humphries suffered a sprained ligament in his right knee, and is expected to be absent for several weeks.

UPDATE: Word from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is bleak.

Ravens Halfback Danny Woodhead -- Hamstring

Danny Woodhead left Sunday's Ravens win in Cincinnati with a hamstring injury, which is believed to be at least a Grade II strain. Woodhead struggled throughout the preseason with hamstring trouble, though he would not confirm whether this latest injury was to the same hamstring. If the injury is Grade II or worse, expect Woodhead to miss at least the next three weeks and be hampered for even longer, as hamstring injuries are notoriously slow to heal.

Outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith suffered a reported knee sprain, with an MRI scan scheduled to determine its severity.

Bengals Guard Trey Hopkins -- Knee

As if the Bengals offensive line situation was not already dire enough, reports out of Cincinnati indicate that the team believes right guard Trey Hopkins suffered a major injury to his left knee against Baltimore and may miss the rest of the season. No update is yet public on the exact injury Hopkins suffered.

Eagles Cornerback Ronald Darby -- Ankle

A dislocated ankle is never good news, but despite the gruesome appearance of Ronald Darby's injury in Washington, the Eagles cornerback appears set to miss "only" around six weeks after further scans revealed that the injury will not require surgical repair. Often, dislocations carry additional complications -- fractures, ligament tears -- that would rule a player out for longer than just the time it takes the joint to stabilize. Darby appears to have avoided any such complications, leaving the Eagles simply to decide whether to place Darby on injured reserve with a view to using the precious designated return slot on him, or to keep him on the inactive list for the month or so until he is able to return to practice.

Left tackle Jason Peters left the game with a groin injury, but expects to be available against the Chiefs in Week 2.

49ers Linebacker Rueben Foster -- Ankle

49ers draftee and debutant Reuben Foster reportedly suffered a high ankle sprain against the Carolina Panthers, and could miss several weeks depending on the severity of the sprain. The most likely outcome is a Grade II sprain, causing Foster to miss around two to four weeks. An MRI scan today will provide a more definitive diagnosis.

Cowboys Cornerback Orlando Scandrick -- Hand

Orlando Scandrick will require surgery to stabilize the third metacarpal fracture he suffered against the Giants, but could return to the lineup as early as Week 3. Anthony Brown is expected to start in Scandrick's absence.

Lions Punter Kasey Redfearn -- Knee (IR)

As if his botched punt play against Arizona wasn't bad enough for Detroit, stand-in punter Kasey Redfearn also suffered the worst knee injury of this young season on the play and will miss the rest of the year. Redfearn tore his ACL and MCL and partially tore his patellar tendon after mishandling the snap and being tackled by Cardinals backup tight end Ifeanyi Momah. This was only the second punt attempt of Redfearn's career, and he may already have kicked his last ball in the NFL.

Patriots Linebacker Dont'a Hightower -- Knee

Dont'a Hightower's injury had Patriots fans fearing the worst, but the Boston Herald reports that Hightower's injury is a minor MCL sprain. Hightower may be able to play against New Orleans in Week 2, perhaps with the aid of a brace, and should not miss any further time beyond that with this injury.

Texans Defensive End J.J. Watt -- Finger

J.J. Watt left Sunday's game with a dislocated finger, which he later described rather gruesomely to Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman. The medical term for what Watt describes is an open dislocation: the dislocation equivalent of a compound fracture, in which the surface of the skin is torn or punctured as a result of the joint being dislocated. According to FO alum Will Carroll, it should be possible for Watt to continue to play through the injury -- he returned to Sunday's game after taping the finger -- but the wound carries an increased risk of infection so will be monitored very closely by the Texans medical staff. They need not worry. J.J. Watt is clearly a cyborg.

Steelers Defensive End Stephon Tuitt -- Biceps

Ian Rapoport reports that, contrary to the team's initial fears, Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt did not suffer a Grade III rupture of his biceps, and instead is "week to week" with a milder strain.


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

  • Bengals Defensive End Michael Johnson
  • Patriots Receiver Danny Amendola
  • Texans Linebacker Brian Cushing
  • Texans Receiver Bruce Ellington
  • Texans Tight End C.J. Fiedorowicz
  • Texans Tight End Ryan Griffin

Other Injuries

Colts linebacker Anthony Walker suffered a hamstring injury and did not return.

Jets linebacker Bruce Carter suffered an ankle injury against Buffalo and did not return. Tight end Eric Tomlinson left the game with an elbow injury.

Rams cornerback Kayvon Webster suffered a shoulder injury against Indianapolis and did not return.

Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril suffered a shoulder injury against Green Bay.

Posted by: Andrew Potter on 11 Sep 2017

38 comments, Last at 19 Sep 2017, 7:50am by Bright Blue Shorts


by zlionsfan :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 4:07pm

at least until Week 8, assuming Martin can return.

Where's Tom Tupa when you need him?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 6:46pm

Prater actually did okay punting. One shorty, two at the 20, and one dropped at the 6.

First punts of his career.

Wonder what Kluwe's up to?

by JoeyHarringtonReigns :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 12:29am

Was watching amomg friends Sunday. A few of us were wondering why a kicker can't be a punter as well? Prater hit a 58 harder so he still has a very strong leg. Why can't strong legged kickers also serve as the teams punter?

On a second note in that game, the Lions were on pace, in the first half alone, to have one of the worst special team games. Dwayne Washington returning the ball out of the end zone to end up at the 5 had me positively incensed.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 9:15am

Me too. I was very happy when Washington got replaced by Jamal Agnew for kick returns. And when Agnew took a knee for a touchback on his first return, I laughed out loud when the crowd gave him a round of applause. Please, more of that. It's like these returners don't remember that there's been a rule change about touchbacks.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 10:38am

Atlanta tried going with a kicker-punter about a decade ago - Michael Koenen.

Essentially having separate kicker and punter on a roster give you a backup for both positions. If one gets injured, the other can cover for him during that game. Also if you cut either player, you only have to find one replacement.

Also punters usually hold for place kickers so they can go off and practice together. It doesn't have to be that way as you can use a backup QB (as used to happen in the 80s) and that improves options on trick plays but then you're taking away from QB reps.

On top of that - think specialist. As a team you'd prefer to find the best available kicker and best available punter. Not go with a great kicker who is below average at punting or vice versa.

The only obvious advantage to the combo kicker-punter is that you free up a roster spot.

by poplar cove :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 3:35pm

Seems like be same thing leg motion more or less but according to Prater after the game he talked about how he's going to be sore and would have to ice his legs from using different muscles while punting the football. Thankfully all of his punts happened near mid-field which ended up working okay but none of them traveled more than 30 yards in the air. I was mostly worried about him catching the snaps which was something his predecessor failed to do.

by Shylo :: Thu, 09/14/2017 - 2:16pm

John Madden wrote about this in his book One Knee Equals Two Feet. He talked about how Ray Guy always wanted to placekick as well and Madden wouldn't let him. He explained that kicking (toes down) and punting (toes up) use different muscles and would eventually mess up the leg. He said punters can kick off because it's all power.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 9:17am

I heard they're trying out a few waiver wire punters, including Jeff Locke, who was decent in Minnesota before he got replaced by someone younger and cheaper.

After some of the injuries around the league, we should count ourselves lucky that backup punter is the only injury we're fretting about so far.

by Shylo :: Thu, 09/14/2017 - 2:13pm

Probably being an ass on Twitter.

by JoeyHarringtonReigns :: Sat, 09/16/2017 - 9:04pm

I'd like to see a column on a team's success following a loss to their starting punter. Especially a punter the caliber of Martin.

Looks like we did scoop up Jeff Locke, Piano. Golden Tate is our emergency punter possibly. He and Stafford punted for their high school teams.

If Matt Millen were here would he trade a high draft pick for a team's starting punter? XD

by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 09/18/2017 - 6:39am

I'd be interested enough to write that column, but I'm not sure there's much to analyze. Most starting kickers are capable of punting in a pinch -- see Matt Prater last week, or Stephen Gostkowski in a recent playoff game. The reverse is not so common for whatever reason. Usually somebody else ends up kicking when the kicker goes down -- examples from the past decade or so include receiver Wes Welker, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and linebacker MarK Simoneau -- but it's seldom as huge a deal as we might expect.

Long snapper is another story. Losing a long snapper can be, and often is, an absolute disaster.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 09/19/2017 - 7:50am

Chad Johnson had a little go at kicking as well. Looks damn good as well.


As for long snapper injuries ... someone already wrote that article ... https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2015/12/15/10054476/nfl-long-snappers-the-m...

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 5:19pm

Bears Receiver Kevin White -- Shoulder (IR)

Another Kevin White lost season. Wow. Just wow. Sorry Bears fans.

by TomC :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 6:00pm

I feel bad for the guy. He's still young, and there's nothing long-term worrisome about a collarbone (except that you're liable to break it again), but it may be that his body is not resilient enough to play in the NFL. Hope he has a nice insurance policy.

As for the Bears, it was a highly questionable decision to rely on White after the first two lost seasons (and no indication during his brief periods of health that he was going to be particularly good). Now they will have to pay someone significantly more than they balked at paying Jeffery, because they sure aren't going to throw Trubisky out there next year with the current receiving corps (which has to be among the worst fielded in the NFL in the past 5 years).

by Steve in WI :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 4:40pm

Yeah, I feel bad for White, I don't feel bad as a Bears fan because I didn't expect anything out of him anyway. Prior to this latest injury he didn't seem to be on his way to anything close to justifying the 7th overall pick anyway. Hopefully he is investing the $16M+ guaranteed he got in his rookie contract wisely, because barring a healthy and much-improved season next year I can't see his career continuing.

Since his contract is fully guaranteed through 2018 the Bears may as well bring him back next season...no sense in cutting him unless and until they need the roster spot. They're going to have to go after a big name in free agency I think (though I don't even know who's hitting free agency) and expend some serious draft capital for sure at WR, which sucks since they still don't have a secondary.

Letting Jeffery walk seems like a bad decision knowing that they had their eye on Trubisky. Franchising him probably would have been worth it just to have a #1-ish guy on the roster this year, considering how thin they are (even before the Meredith and White injuries) at the position and how much cap space they had.

The depth chart now is, what, Wright/Bellamy/Thompson/??? I assume they bring Gentry up from the practice squad. If Victor Cruz is still out there, he should have some knowledge of the offense. But of course, he was bad enough that they cut him even after the Meredith injury so I'm not sure if they'd want him at all.

by Steve in WI :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 4:50pm

Okay, I was curious so I checked their depth chart. I forgot about Markus Wheaton, who at least seems to have some upside. They've already promoted Gentry from the practice squad and they also have someone named Tre McBride, so they don't necessarily have to go looking for someone off the street.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 5:23pm

Packers LB Ahmad Brooks also had a concussion. I haven't seen if he's in the league's concussion protocol, but I assume he is.

by Theo :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 6:00pm

You're a punter and you tear up your acl and mcl?
That's on the coaches for not teaching him properly what to do in those situations.

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 6:31pm

He ran with the football down the sideline and he got tackled high. There didn't seem to be any reason for the injury at first sight.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 9:11am

It was his 2nd NFL punt ever, and it looked he just panicked and brain-locked.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 10:48am

Seems like a coaching issue / inexperience to me.

Usually on any failed punting attempt you'd be looking to advance the ball as far as possible because you're going to hand the ball over to the other team at that spot. In the field of play there's no reason why you wouldn't try to advance it.

And I'm guessing that in the endzone his first thought was "Try and advance it. Don't give up the safety". Logically that makes sense until you realise that being stopped at the 5-yd line is just giving the opposition an easy FG or TD.

by ChrisS :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 11:03am

Seems like mostly due to inexperience, but the coaches put him out there. It also looked to me like he (as probably most punters) had no leg pads. If you have no leg pads you should not be running the ball. Pads probably would not have prevented the injury but they should remind you that running the football is not my job.

by dbostedo :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:20pm

Kevin White has a fractured scapula (shoulder blade), not clavicle (collar bone).

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 5:04pm

It's Kevin White; there's a non-zero chance he's managed to fracture his collarbone as well since the original post was made.

by EnderCN :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:07pm

Very encouraging for the Packers who have been the most injured team in football for like 4 years straight now. Last year by the time they played the Falcons they had like 8 starters left on the field.

by dbostedo :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:23pm

"...the Packers ... have been the most injured team in football for like 4 years straight now"

I doubt that. Based on what metric?

by ssereb :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:59pm

By Adjusted Games Lost, from 2013-2016 the Packers were 31st, 3rd, 9th, and 15th. So yeah, four years ago they were very injured but have since been pretty good with one exceptionally healthy year.

by EnderCN :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 10:19am

That doesn't include players playing compromised though. The entire secondary was playing injured last year. Rodgers finished 2 of the past 3 years hobbling around. Matthews hasn't been near 100% the past 2 seasons etc.

by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 10:23am

AGL does include players playing compromised, as long as they are listed on the injury report prior to the game.

by EnderCN :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 10:25am

Also I only really care about playoff time so you would need to look at those games. The Packers always have the talent to get to the playoffs but the past few years they have been just destroyed by injuries going into the playoffs.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 1:56pm

It's tough to kick the XP when the goalposts keep moving.

by dbostedo :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 9:16pm


by DavidL :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 9:27pm

PHI has placed kicker Caleb Sturgis on IR with a hip injury (that was apparently suffered in the first quarter of the WAS game, so he may have aggravated it by kicking three field goals and two extra points) and replaced him with Bengals practice squad refugee Jake Elliott.

by PatsFan :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 11:07pm

What's the typical amount of time players spend in the concussion protocol (if there is a typical time)? Is there any chance Amendola would be able to play in Week 2?

by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 09/13/2017 - 2:21am

There's a chance, especially with the Patriots having a long week due to their Thursday night opener, but it's not especially likely. I believe we finally moved to the point last season where the median length of time a player spends in the concussion protocol exceeded a full game week. (Ie. Most players entering the concussion protocol during or immediately after one game missed the following game, regardless of what day it was played.)

by bigpoppapump :: Wed, 09/13/2017 - 7:25am

6 concussions across the league and 4 of them were Texans?
That doesn't pass the smell test - no matter how small the sample size.

Were the dirty Jags headhunting?
Did this game have the League's only sufficiently diligent medical team?

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 09/14/2017 - 9:33pm

My thoughts as well. It's also possible that it's just a weird coincidence.

by medelste :: Wed, 09/13/2017 - 3:22pm

From ESPN...

CHICAGO -- The Bears placed Jerrell Freeman on injured reserve Tuesday after the inside linebacker suffered a pectoral injury and a concussion in Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Freeman becomes the third Chicago starter to land on injured reserve, joining wide receivers Cameron Meredith (knee) and Kevin White (shoulder fracture).

Second-year linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski is expected to take Freeman's spot in the starting lineup against the Tampa Bay Bucs on Sunday. Chicago also elevated third-year linebacker Jonathan Anderson to the active roster Tuesday.

Losing Freeman for the year will be tough for the Bears to overcome. The 31-year-old linebacker led the team with 127 tackles last year -- despite being suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.

Freeman was credited with a team-high 10 tackles against the Falcons on Sunday.