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Injury Aftermath: Week 14

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.

Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz -- Knee (IR)

An MRI scan has already confirmed that Carson Wentz tore the ACL in his left knee against the Rams, and will miss the rest of the season. Head coach Doug Pederson confirmed the news today, stating that the team believes the injury occurred on the step before Wentz dived into the end zone and was hit by two Rams defenders. The sole piece of good news is that there is no associated damage, meaning the injury is an isolated ACL tear. Ordinarily, Wentz would face a race against time to be ready for next season: ACL recovery is typically a nine-month rehabilitation, which takes him to the middle of September. The isolated nature of the tear can shorten the recovery timeline significantly, meaning he has a better than usual chance to make a quicker than usual return. Sadly, his 2017 season is definitely over.

Nick Foles, who famously had an outstanding 2013 season for the Eagles, again takes over as the team's starting quarterback. After leaving Philadelphia following the 2014 season, Foles has started games for the Rams and Chiefs, completing 226 of 392 passes for 2,462 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions since 2015. Nate Sudfeld, whom the Eagles have worked hard to retain despite interest from elsewhere, will back up Foles.

Rams Cornerback Kayvon Webster -- Achilles (IR)

A less-heralded injury from the same game as Wentz, the Rams lost starting cornerback Kayvon Webster for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Like Wentz, Webster will require surgery and is likely to miss the start of next season. Webster started and played in 11 games this year, his first in Los Angeles, recording 34 tackles and seven pass deflections to go with his one interception. He missed two games earlier in the year with a shoulder injury, and revealed after the Achilles diagnosis that he has also been playing through a torn labrum since then. Nickell Robey-Coleman appears the most likely candidate to take over starting duties in Webster's absence.

Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth missed a portion of the game with an ankle injury, but was able to return at the start of the second half. Opposing bookend Rob Havenstein left in the fourth quarter, also with an ankle injury, and did not return.

Buccaneers Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy -- Biceps (IR)

Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy again suffered a torn biceps, which will force him to miss the rest of the season. This is the third time McCoy has suffered this injury -- twice on one arm and once on the other. McCoy is the perennial leader of the Bucs defensive line in almost every category, and has the third-most sacks in franchise history. This season, he is the only player on the roster with more than three (!) sacks and leads the defensive line in tackles, pass defeats, run defeats, quarterback hits, and stop rate.

Even with McCoy, the Buccaneers have the worst pass rush in the league -- their current adjusted sack rate would be the lowest since 2015 -- and came into Week 14 with the second-worst defense in DVOA both against the pass and overall. Without him, the team is down to only Chris Baker and Clinton McDonald as established interior linemen, with veteran journeyman Sealver Siliga as their backup and a rotating cast at defensive end. Fortunately, McCoy should be healthy in time for the start of the team's offseason program.

Jets Quarterback Josh McCown -- Hand (IR)

News out of New York suggests that Josh McCown will miss the rest of this season after breaking his left hand against the Broncos. Though McCown is a right-handed passer, the break is severe enough that he would be unable to secure snaps, and thus he will not be able to play again until it heals. A veteran journeyman enjoying a career year in his 18th season, McCown goes to injured reserve with career highs in completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns -- though not DYAR, DVOA, or ANY/A, which were all higher in 2013. Though he is currently unsigned for 2018, it would be a surprise not to see him on a roster somewhere, assuming he does not retire.

Halfback Elijah McGuire injured his ankle and did not return, but MRI scan results showed minimal damage. He may not miss any time.

Saints Defense -- Various

The Saints lost several defenders at various points throughout Thursday night's defeat in Atlanta. Safety Kenny Vaccaro re-injured his groin, but should have time to recover before the playoffs; about 40 percent of groin injuries to defensive backs cause them to miss at least one game, while 20 percent cause them to miss more than two weeks. Typical recovery times are one to four weeks, so it's likely this injury will resolve by the Saints' first playoff game.

Linebacker A.J. Klein suffered a similar injury, which means a similar outlook: about 45 percent of groin injuries to linebackers cause them to miss at least one game, while 20 percent cause them to miss more than two games. Typical recovery times are one to four weeks. Again, Klein should be recovered by the start of the playoffs.

Defensive linemen Trey Hendrickson and David Onyemata were also injured on Thursday night, but no update is yet available for those players.

Seahawks Linebacker Bobby Wagner -- Hamstring

Bobby Wagner left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, and looks set to have tests on the injury today. The outlook for hamstring injuries is highly severity-dependent, but about two-thirds of such injuries to linebackers cause them to miss at least one game, while around a quarter cause them to miss three weeks or more. Typical recovery times are one to four weeks, so if the Seahawks can snag a playoff spot there's a decent chance Wagner will be fully recovered by then. Head coach Pete Carroll usually provides injury updates on his Monday radio appearance, so more information will probably be available later today.

Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph -- Ankle

Vikings tackle Riley Reiff and tight end Kyle Rudolph both suffered ankle injuries against the Panthers, and both left the stadium with their ankles in protective boots. Head coach Mike Zimmer is notoriously tight-lipped about injuries, but both are believed to have suffered some form of ankle sprain. Assuming the worst -- that both are high-ankle sprains -- these could both be tough breaks for the Vikings. More than 80 percent of these injuries to both offensive linemen and tight ends result in at least one game out, and a bit under half cause guys to miss four or more games. Typical recovery times are two to eight weeks. Assuming the Vikes can snag a first-round bye, there's about a 50/50 chance that each of these guys will be fully recovered by their first playoff game.

More information on both injuries will probably be available later in the week.


The following players were removed from their respective games with concussion symptoms and enter the league protocol:

  • Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman
  • Jets safety Thomas Hennessy
  • Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson
  • Raiders tight end Clive Walford
  • Saints halfback Alvin Kamara
  • Saints offensive lineman Senio Kelemete
  • Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright
  • Texans quarterback Tom Savage

Lions center Travis Swanson did not experience concussion symptoms during the game, but became symptomatic afterward and is now in the concussion protocol.

Other Injuries

Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap suffered a chest injury against the Bears and did not return. Given the lopsided score, his absence may have been a precaution, but no further news has since been provided. Chest/pectoral injuries are a real mixed bag. About half of such injuries to defensive linemen don't cause them to miss time, but around a quarter are severe pectoral tears that end their season entirely. The remaining quarter miss one or two games. Without knowing more about Dunlap's injury it's tough to make an accurate projection. Typical recovery times are anywhere from one to seven weeks. With the Bengals out of playoff contention, it would not be a surprise to see Dunlap take time out to recover from even a relatively mild injury.

Bills receiver Kelvin Benjamin hurt his knee while diving for a pass against the Colts, but no update has since been provided.

Broncos safety Justin Simmons sprained his ankle against the Jets while celebrating a turnover. It sounds like the team considers the injury minor, but Simmons was in a protective boot after the game and will have an MRI scan today on the injury.

Cardinals offensive tackle Jared Veldheer fractured his ankle against the Titans and will miss the rest of the season.

Chargers offensive tackle Russell Okung left the game with an ankle injury, but was able to return and is not expected to miss further time.

Giants safety Landon Collins re-injured his ankle against the Cowboys and was wearing a protective boot after the game. He will have an MRI scan on the injury today, but does not believe that the injury will end his season.

Packers cornerback Davon House suffered a transverse process fracture in his back, an injury which is becoming more familiar to NFL fans in recent seasons. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr missed only one game earlier this season with that injury, and House hopes for a similar recovery timeline.

Raiders receiver Amari Cooper re-injured his ankle in the first half and did not return. Cooper has recently missed time due to both a concussion and a high-ankle sprain. The latest injury was to the same ankle, and may be an aggravation. In that eventuality, he would expect to miss at least Week 15 and possibly beyond. Defensive end Mario Edwards hurt his ankle, but was able to return later in the game.

Redskins backup halfback and kick returner Byron Marshall injured his hamstring on a kick return in the first quarter and did not return. Offensive tackle Trent Williams yet again left a game with his recurring knee trouble, and the time may have come to end his season and get him the surgery he has been postponing for weeks. Halfback Samaje Perine left the game with a stomach ailment, with no further specifics given. Linebackers Zach Brown and Chris Carter were also injured, but no further news has been provided.

Steelers tight end Vance McDonald left last night's division-clinching victory with an unspecified shoulder injury. It's hard to give a reliable projection without knowing more about McDonald's particular injury, but overall about a third of shoulder injuries to tight ends cause them to miss at least one game; 20 percent cause them to miss more than two weeks. Typical recovery times are one to four weeks, so assuming McDonald's injury isn't too major it should clear up by the playoffs.

Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan was unable to play on Sunday due to a back problem. Only about a third of these injuries cause offensive linemen to miss a game, though Lewan effectively missed this past week because he woke up on Sunday with the issue and couldn't play through it. Typical recovery times are one to four weeks, though half of these injuries resolve in just one week. If the Titans can make the playoffs this injury probably won't still be an issue for Lewan at that time. Head coach Mike Mularkey stated after the game that quarterback Marcus Mariota played through a knee injury, but no further details were given and Mariota's status for Week 15 does not appear to be in question. More clarity may be provided later today.


21 comments, Last at 15 Dec 2017, 2:19pm

1 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by Will Allen // Dec 11, 2017 - 6:43pm

If Elfein and Rieff don't get back, to say nothing of Rudolph ( with the 2nd guy on the te depth chart, Hunter, having entered the concussion protocol last week)the Vikings defense will have to play out of its mind. They desperately need a playoff bye, which probably means they have to win two their last three, if not all three. Eh, never get optimistic about a season, because no good team is ever more than one to four plays away from mediocrity

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2 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by andrew // Dec 11, 2017 - 10:52pm

however much you can gleam from it, Zimmer states that Reiff's ankle is "much better than expected". which says nothing without knowing what they expected.

I'd link the article on Daily Norseman but it would trip the spam filter.

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3 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by Will Allen // Dec 11, 2017 - 11:03pm

I love Zimmer, but if he had been White House Chief of Staff in November '63, he woulda' said what happened in Dallas was an injury of indeterminate nature.

Too soon?

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5 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by Andrew Potter // Dec 12, 2017 - 10:40am

You're the second person I've seen use that analogy relating to injuries in this week's games.

The other, in discussing Tom Savage, said that the NFL concussion examination is so useless, it would have cleared JFK to return to the parade.

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6 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by Will Allen // Dec 12, 2017 - 11:07am

That's a better line, and I may have subconsciously stole it.

"If Zimmer was a reporter at the first day of The Battle of the Somme, he woulda' said the British Army was a little nicked up".

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4 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by jtr // Dec 12, 2017 - 9:28am

I think you can copy and paste a link into a comment just fine. It's only if you try to actually put a link into the text with the anchor tag that the spam filter eats it and won't let you post it. Which is a shame, because inline links are much nicer than clunky full URL.s

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17 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by andrew // Dec 13, 2017 - 9:48pm

Apparently there is a chance Reiff plays this Sunday, and a likely chance that Elflein and Remmers return. Overall that is good news, even if Reiff can't make it.

Rudolph is still in wait and see mode.

I know you can't take anyone lightly but given that they are facing a Bengals team that seems to be mailing it in, there may be some temptation to keep them out and let them heal another week. But given the potential scenarios, if something went wrong and they somehow lost that game and were going into the Packers game still having not clinched the North, I don't think they'd risk it.

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18 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by Will Allen // Dec 13, 2017 - 9:57pm

Until you obtain at least the #2 seed, I think you can't rest anyone, unless they are really borderline. It's really one game at a time now, while hoping the Eagles lose one.

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7 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by morganja // Dec 12, 2017 - 2:13pm

Listening last night as the announcers claimed that Bill Belichick should get the coach of the year, despite taking a team that was apparently a lock before the season to go undefeated, to 10-3 against a very easy schedule, I started wondering who should get it.
It should be a race between Sean McVay, Mike Zimmer, and Doug Pederson. All three of them deserve it so far.
My vote at this point has got to be Mike Zimmer though. What he has done with the loss of his quarterbacks is impressive.
Though how much of his success is due to his coaching ability, and how much of it is because he got rid of Matt Kalil?

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8 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by LyleNM // Dec 12, 2017 - 2:23pm

Agreed although I might throw in Sean Payton as a fourth candidate. My vote is for McVay though. Nobody really thought that Goff would make such a large turnaround.

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10 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by dmstorm22 // Dec 12, 2017 - 2:36pm

I think it is McVay, especially if they win that division. No one expected this.

Sure, I guess no one expected the Case Keenum Vikings to be 10-3, or the Eagles to be 11-2, but the Rams rising from an absolute punchline to a really good team is one of the more surprising developments in years.

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11 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by Will Allen // Dec 12, 2017 - 2:47pm

May as well wait until after week 17. If any of those 3 get the number 1 seed, I'd give it to that coach.

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13 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by RickD // Dec 12, 2017 - 10:37pm

Only very silly people thought the Patriots would go undefeated. I don't remember anybody describing the possibility as a 'lock'. Long-time Patriots' fans knew the defense was nowhere near as good as the defense of 2007. But some people are paid to hype even unlikely possibilities.

Belichick produces the only team that's able to stay among the NFL's elite every season. And somehow you're using that fact against him.

If it's difficulty of schedule you're looking for, Mike Zimmer is the guy.

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19 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Dec 14, 2017 - 10:51am

Pittsburgh's not far behind.

That's a franchise with 9 under-.500 seasons in the last 47 years.

It took Cleveland 9 years to match that.

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15 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by Steve in WI // Dec 13, 2017 - 1:40pm

This is totally subjective, but I would give it to McVay, no question. We were talking about Goff as a historic bust last season and he's apparently turned him into a pretty good QB. Plus the rest of the team wasn't exactly considered to be playoff-caliber talent, either. It remains to be seen what the Rams and Goff turn into long-term, but I think he's got coach of the year nailed down.

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20 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by ChrisS // Dec 14, 2017 - 12:33pm

I would be leery giving it to a first year coach, Ben Macadoo's Giants won 11 games last year. But I agree the huge turn around of Goff was unforeseen by the vast majority and he should get a lot of credit.

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9 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by morganja // Dec 12, 2017 - 2:27pm

Sean Payton definitely is deserving too. Good year for coaches.

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12 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by morganja // Dec 12, 2017 - 5:25pm

I don't know. Football Outsiders was high on the Rams defense, and if the offense would just stop being historically awful, they were going to be pretty good.
I think wither the Vikings or the Saints are the truly impressive turnarounds.

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14 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by justanothersteve // Dec 12, 2017 - 10:52pm

Tom Savage's concussion is practically a footnote here.

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16 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by PatsFan // Dec 13, 2017 - 4:49pm

Not at result of this weekend, but NE has planned OL Marcus Cannon on IR.

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21 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 14

by morganja // Dec 15, 2017 - 2:19pm

Now that Wentz is out, I am going to take a moment to post my fantasy draft this year:
1 David Johnson*, Ari RB
26 Terrelle Pryor Sr.*, Wsh WR
27 Christian McCaffrey, Car RB
52 Joe Mixon, Cin RB
53 Martavis Bryant, Pit WR
78 C.J. Anderson, Den RB
79 Mike Wallace, Bal WR
104 Darren McFadden, Dal RB
105 Donte Moncrief*, Ind WR
130 Carson Wentz*, Phi QB
131 Hunter Henry, LAC TE
156 Patriots D/ST D/ST
157 Rex Burkhead, NE RB
182 Carson Palmer*, Ari QB
183 Robert Woods, LAR WR
208 Sebastian Janikowski*, Oak K

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