by Andrew Potter and Zach Binney
Thanks to staff writer Zach Binney's analysis of NFL injury data, we are now able to provide more detailed injury return (number of games missed) and recovery (number of weeks limited in practices or games) estimates based on historical data for select injuries. These estimates also consider the position of the injured player. Details of our methodology are available here.
Seahawks Cornerback Richard Sherman -- Achilles (IR)
After a mild Week 9, we didn't even make it past Thursday night before losing another star player for the year in Week 10. Richard Sherman ruptured his Achilles during the first half of Seattle's victory over the Arizona Cardinals, and will miss the rest of the season. Sherman famously wrote a piece for the Player's Tribune decrying Thursday Night Football for its impact on players' bodies; his opinion is unlikely to have become more favourable now. However, research with public injury report data has not shown higher injury rates for Thursday Night Football compared to games on normal rest. We are now reaching the stage of the year when any major injury such as this could impact the 2018 season; Sherman will probably still be rehabilitating the injury when the team's offseason work begins next year, though he should be available for the start of the 2018 regular season.
Cardinals Tackle D.J. Humphries -- Knee (IR)
Cardinals Safety Tyvon Branch -- Knee (IR)
The Cardinals lost three players to season-ending injuries against the Seahawks on Thursday night, including two starters. Left tackle D.J. Humphries will miss the rest of the season due to a dislocated kneecap, and also has an ongoing MCL problem which caused him to miss four games earlier in the season. Starting safety Tyvon Branch injured his ACL, while backup tight end Ifeanyi Momah suffered a severe leg break. All three will require surgery, with Humphries the only one who is not expected to miss at least a portion of the offseason program during his recovery.
Quarterback Drew Stanton suffered a sprained MCL while deputizing for Carson Palmer, and could miss "a week or two" with the injury. MCL sprains are not usually long-term issues for quarterbacks. Seventy-five percent of quarterbacks with MCL sprains miss at least one week, but no quarterback in our database has missed more than four weeks with this injury. Typical recovery (again, recovery means to normal activity levels, not necessarily just to game action) times are two to four weeks. Negative-DYAR record holder Blaine Gabbert is next in line for the Cardinals, who will also re-sign former Eagles and Bears quarterback Matt Barkley as a third backup.
Browns Linebacker Jamie Collins -- Knee (IR)
Browns linebacker Jamie Collins suffered a torn MCL against the Lions and will miss the rest of the season. Ninety percent of linebackers with an MCL sprains miss at least one game, and around a third miss more than four weeks. Unfortunately, the severity of Collins' sprain has pushed him into that latter group, and this late in the season he has no chance to return before Week 17. The good news is that he should be healthy in plenty of time for the team's offseason program.
Quarterback DeShone Kizer was temporarily removed from the game after taking a blow to his ribs. Rib injuries to quarterbacks tend to be more severe than those to other positions, but the fact that Kizer was able to return to the game bodes well. Still, about 60 percent of rib injuries to quarterbacks keep them out at least one game, with around 20 percent keeping them out four or more weeks. Typical recovery times range from one to six weeks.
Tight end Randall Telfer injured his eye, and no update is yet public for Telfer.
Steelers Cornerback Joe Haden -- Leg
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports that Joe Haden has a non-displaced fracture of his fibula. Usually a broken leg means a player's season is over, but Haden's particular injury -- a relatively minor fracture to the thinner of the two lower leg bones at the knee -- doesn't require surgery and current estimates have him out five to six weeks. He could return to the Steelers just about in time for the playoffs.
Safety Mike Mitchell aggravated an existing ankle injury in the third quarter and was carted off the field, but may yet be available against the Titans on Thursday night pending the result of an MRI scan. Head coach Mike Tomlin usually provides updates on those injuries at his Wednesday media conference.
Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey injured his left foot but returned later in the game. As we have written before here, foot injuries in football are a bit of a grab bag, and recovery and return times can vary widely. That said, these injuries tend to be a bit trickier for wideouts than others. Around 40 percent of foot injuries to wide receivers cause them to miss time, but only 15 percent result in four or more weeks missed. Typical recovery times range from one to six weeks. The fact that Heyward-Bey returned to the game suggests he'll be at the lower end of these ranges.
Redskins Halfback Rob Kelley -- Knee/Ankle
Ian Rapoport reports that Rob Kelley has both a low-grade MCL sprain and a high ankle sprain -- two injuries that commonly occur together when a player's leg is hit while planted on the playing surface. With a dual injury like this, we'll focus on the high ankle sprain aspect. Virtually all of these injuries to running backs cause them to miss at least some time, with about a third keeping guys out more than four weeks. Current news reports peg Kelley as being in this worst third. Typical recovery times are four to nine weeks.
Defensive backs DeAngelo Hall and Deshazor Everett were also hurt against Minnesota, with knee and eye injuries respectively. Hall's injury is considered the more severe of the two -- a bone bruise, possibly to the same knee in which Hall tore his ACL last year. As we have seen recently with Sam Bradford, this innocuous-sounding injury can be much more debilitating than we might first expect. Hall's status will probably have to be clarified over the next week or so.
Packers Halfback Aaron Jones -- Knee
Ian Rapoport reports on Around the NFL that Aaron Jones is expected to miss around a month with a sprained MCL. MCL sprains are tricky for running backs. Ninety percent of these injuries cause the player to miss at least one game, with about a quarter keeping guys out for major time (four weeks or more). Unfortunately, Rapoport's report suggests that Jones will fall into this top quarter. Typical recovery times for halfbacks run from four to six weeks.
Fellow halfback Ty Montgomery left the game with another rib injury -- his second of the year. Barely a third of rib injuries cause running backs to miss time, and only about 20 percent cause them to miss more than week. If it is an aggravation, though, he could be out longer, especially as he already missed Week 5 with the initial injury. Typical recovery for these injuries is one to three weeks.
The following players were removed from their respective games with concussion symptoms and enter the league protocol:
- Bengals cornerback Adam Jones
- Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett
- Cowboys safety Jeff Heath
- Falcons halfback Devonta Freeman
- Redskins receiver Ryan Grant
Freeman's concussion is his second of the season, so he is more likely than most to miss more than one game.
Bills edge rusher Jerry Hughes was removed from Sunday's game with a shin injury. Injuries listed as "shin" -- assuming it doesn't come out that this is a broken leg or something more serious -- rarely cost defensive linemen any time. Only a quarter even appear on the injury report more than once. Hughes should be alright moving forward.
Broncos linebacker Todd Davis aggravated the high ankle sprain he initially suffered against the Chargers, and looks set to miss time with the injury. Tight end A.J. Derby hurt his shoulder and did not return to the game. No update is yet public for either.
Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee suffered yet another hamstring injury against the Falcons. For most players, the impact of a hamstring injury is highly dependent on its severity. Around two thirds of hamstring injuries to linebackers keep them out at least a game, and around a quarter cause them to miss major time (four or more weeks). Typical recovery times are one to four weeks, but Lee's long history of hamstring issues is a complicating factor and could put him at the upper end of this range.
Giants guard Justin Pugh hurt his back against the 49ers, while fellow lineman D.J. Fluker injured his knee. Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard hurt his groin, and will have an MRI scan to assess the injury today.
Jaguars receiver/special teamer Arrelious Benn hurt his knee against the Chargers, while long snapper Matt Overton injured his shoulder. Of those two, Overton's dislocated shoulder is the more severe, and he is likely to miss time. Receiver Allen Hurns suffered an ankle injury on a tackle by Tre Boston and also looks likely to miss time, but the exact nature of his injury is not yet public.
Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne returned from a foot injury against Tampa Bay, but left the game early after seemingly aggravating the injury. He is likely to miss further time, after being absent against the Bills in Week 9.
Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater injured his hamstring in Denver. About half of hamstring injuries to wide receivers (the position at which Slater is listed) cause them to miss at least one game. Around 20 percent keep guys out four or more weeks. Typical recovery times are one to four weeks.
Saints running back and special teamer Daniel Lasco suffered a bulging disc injury on a kick return against the Bills, and will miss the rest of the year. Fortunately for Lasco, the injury is not considered career-threatening.
Texans receiver Will Fuller left Sunday's game with cracked ribs, but may miss only one game with the injury. About 40 percent of rib injuries to wideouts cause them to miss a game, but only a quarter or so cause players to miss multiple weeks. Typical recovery times are one to three weeks. Guard Jeff Allen hurt his hand but returned to the game, while fellow lineman Julien Davenport injured his shoulder.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota hurt his left (non-throwing) shoulder and his ankle against Cincinnati, but neither injury is considered serious. Using left shoulder injuries as a proxy for non-throwing shoulder injuries, only about a third of these injuries cause quarterbacks to miss a game. Typical recovery times are two to four weeks. Mariota is very likely to be at the lower end of this range.