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Injury Aftermath: Week 9

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.

Vikings Quarterback Sam Bradford -- Knee (IR)

Breaking news on Wednesday, as the Vikings announce that they have activated quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the 53-man roster and placed Sam Bradford on injured reserve. For Bridgewater, this is a landmark moment in his recovery from the dislocation and multiple ligament tear he suffered in the summer of 2016. Though he is not expected to start immediately, he will hope to at least see game action before the end of this season.

For Bradford, this is the latest setback in an injury-plagued career which has seen him suffer two ACL tears and now a bone bruise all in the same knee. Those connected ailments have ended three of his past five seasons, and threaten to further derail his career. A free agent this offseason, Bradford looked set to sign a huge contract after his excellent opening-day performance but is likely to find his options for employment in 2018 massively reduced after this latest injury setback.

Buccaneers Quarterback Jameis Winston -- Shoulder

We tend to steer away from aggravations of existing injuries as headline items, but Jameis Winston again missed the entire second half of a game this weekend after aggravating his existing acromioclavicular joint sprain. Winston also has an injured rear deltoid muscle, and Ian Rapoport reports that he had X-rays and an MRI scan after the game. This implies that the Buccaneers are concerned about the possibility for further structural damage after Sunday -- Winston took a hit from Saints defense end Alex Okafor, and was removed from the game shortly thereafter. Winston was clearly impaired and in pain during the Buccaneers' loss in New Orleans,frequently failing to get enough velocity or accuracy even on short passes. This is a complicated issue, with Winston suffering two injuries to the same shoulder, which would have made it difficult to project his estimated timeline with historical data. Thankfully the Buccaneers made it clear for us this afternoon: Winston will miss "the next few weeks" to rest his shoulder. Ryan Fitzpatrick will quarterback the Bucs in the meantime, starting with this week's game against his old team, the New York Jets.

Defensive end William Gholston was carted off in a worrying scene after he went down on a seemingly innocuous play, but after being checked at a local hospital was declared neurologically sound and cleared to return home with the team. It appears that Gholston suffered a stinger -- a nerve injury commonly characterized by weakness in the player's limbs, with possible additional symptoms. About 40 percent of stingers cause players to miss at least one game, and around 20 percent cause major missed time (four or more weeks). Typical recovery times are one to four weeks, though given the hospital trip it wouldn't be surprising to find Gholston at the upper end of this range.

Left tackle Donovan Smith left the game with a knee injury, which will be subject to an MRI scan today. Results of that scan are not yet available.

49ers Safety Jaquiski Tartt -- Arm (IR)

The 49ers revealed after Sunday's game that Jacquiski Tartt broke his arm against the Cardinals -- the exact same injury that ended the season of Jimmie Ward last weekend. Like Ward, Tartt will be placed on injured reserve this week. His season is over.

Tartt was only one of roughly half a dozen 49ers to leave Sunday's game. Others include tight ends George Kittle and Cole Hikutini, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, linebackers Reuben Foster and Elijah Lee, and receiver Trent Taylor. Kittle and Foster, at least, were able to return. No update is yet available for the other four, all of whom were declared out of the game.

Chiefs Defensive End Allen Bailey -- Knee

The Chiefs confirmed after their game against Dallas that Allen Bailey has a sprained MCL. His prognosis really depends on the severity of the sprain. Eighty percent of MCL sprains to defensive linemen cause the player to miss at least a game, and a quarter cause them to miss four or more weeks. Typical recovery times are two to four weeks, but it could be longer if Bailey has a severe sprain (i.e., a complete or near-complete tear). Look for MRI results to be publicized later this week, especially if the injury is more severe than is currently believed.

Cowboys Receiver Dez Bryant -- Ankle

Dez Bryant sprained his ankle late in the win against Kansas City, and described the injury as sore and a little bruised. He hopes to be fine by the end of the week. If this turns out to be a garden-variety low ankle sprain, the news may not be too bad. Two-thirds of wide receivers miss at least a game with this sort of injury, but half of them are back within three weeks. Typical recovery times are two to five weeks. If it's a high ankle sprain, as some have speculated, that's bad for a wideout. Ninety-five percent of wide receivers with a high ankle sprain miss at least one game, and around 60 percent are out more than four weeks. Tackle Tyron Smith left the game with a groin injury, which will be assessed by MRI scan today.


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

  • Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz
  • Seahawks defensive end Marcus Smith
  • Texans tight end Ryan Griffin

Griffin's departure is particularly notable as it is the second time this season that he has left a game with concussion symptoms.

Other Injuries

Bengals safety Shawn Williams strained his hamstring against Jacksonville, and will be evaluated when the team returns to Cincinnati. Defensive tackle Pat Sims suffered a calf strain, which had him listed as doubtful to return. Offensive tackle Jake Fisher took ill during the game and was evaluated at a local hospital.

Bills receiver Zay Jones hurt his knee against the Jets, but is considered "day to day." As we often note here, day-to-day in coachspeak largely means that if the team was playing today, he would not be ready. He is not expected to miss the team's next game.

Broncos halfback C.J. Anderson hurt his ankle in the first quarter against the Rams, but returned to the game. Only around one-third of ankle injuries to running backs cause them to miss a game, and typical recovery times are one to four weeks. With Anderson returning to the game it would be surprising for this to be a long-term issue.

Dolphins offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury and did not return. Hamstring injuries usually aren't too bad for offensive linemen. Just under half miss at least one game, and only a quarter are out more than two weeks. Typical recovery times are one to four weeks.

Giants linebacker Keenan Robinson strained his quad against the Rams and left the game. An MRI scan will be taken to determine the severity of the strain.

Jaguars edge rusher Dante Fowler hurt his elbow. Elbow injuries don't tend to be too bad for players like Fowler. Only about a third of elbow injuries to defensive linemen cause them to miss a game, and under 20 percent of players miss more than two weeks. Typical recovery times are one to three weeks. Offensive tackle Cam Robinson aggravated his existing ankle injury.

Jets receiver Jeremy Kerley hurt his foot, but the results of the examinations are not yet public. Kerley should get plenty of time to rest while serving his four-game suspension for PED use.

Panthers safety Mike Adams suffered a shoulder stinger against Atlanta and left the game.

Redskins cornerback Fabian Moreau hurt his ankle, defensive lineman Arthur Jones hurt his shoulder, and linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons hurt his back. No further update is yet available for this trio.

Seahawks halfback Eddie Lacy left Sunday's game with a groin strain. This is another case where severity matters, but the numbers are on Lacy's side. Less than half of groin injuries to running backs result in missed games, while around a quarter cause players to miss more than two weeks. Typical recovery times are one to four weeks. Linebacker D.J. Alexander injured his ankle, and did not return. Fullback Tre Madden suffered a calf strain of undetermined severity. All three will probably be subject to MRI scans today.

Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph already had pain in his shin and quad before Sunday's game, and left during the contest with a leg injury. No update is yet public.

Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan was briefly knocked out of the game in the first quarter, but did return.


8 comments, Last at 09 Nov 2017, 2:11pm

1 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 9

by jtr // Nov 07, 2017 - 10:09am

If there's any risk of re-aggrevating this shoulder injury, the Bucs should just shut Winston down and play out the string with Fitzmagic. There's no reason for them to risk an Andrew Luck perma-injury during what's already a lost season for the team.

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2 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 9

by MilkmanDanimal // Nov 07, 2017 - 11:57am

I'm expecting that for two reasons; one, it's a lost season, and two, from a job security perspective, things look better for Koetter if he can say "look, the offense was at least moving well with Winston and then we lost him, do you want to lose the improvement he showed by firing me"? I've been expecting him to get tossed on IR for a few weeks at this point.

Other advantage: Ryan Fitzpatrick will never stop being Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the one place where I'd say he has a clear advantage over Jameis Winston as a QB (and by one I mean "really the only one") is he has a notably better deep ball than Winston, as Winston sucks at that. Fitzpatrick has a better chance to hit a couple of bombs to Desean Jackson, which significantly reduces the odds DSJ finally flips out and starts setting the sideline on fire because he got overthrown by Winston again.

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5 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 9

by t.d. // Nov 07, 2017 - 5:35pm

Curious, as a fan of a 2-6 team, do you even want the team to start playing better? 4-12 or worse probably gets you rid of Koetter, injuries or not

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7 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 9

by MilkmanDanimal // Nov 07, 2017 - 6:44pm

Better, yes. I'd like to not cringe hard enough to bruise my eyeballs, and I actually do want Koetter to stick around because, as an offensive-minded guy, there really has been some notable improvement on the offense, and I'd rather not lose that. There's a need for better defensive players, but the team's actually been pretty smart about free agent acquisitions with guys like Chris Baker and T.J. Ward, and the main problem is the secondary's been horrible with Brent Grimes apparently finally hitting the age wall and everybody except Chris Conte getting injured, and, frankly, he tends to play like he's got a concussion, several broken limbs, and Ebola.

It's not like there's a single, standout player in the coming draft I'm going to look at and want the team to tank for, so rooting for draft position seems vaguely counterproductive. I mean, I guess drafting high enough that someone wants to trade up for a QB would be great, but I'd rather just enjoy watching football at least a bit at this point.

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3 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 9

by PatsFan // Nov 07, 2017 - 3:47pm

Rumors out of Boston that LB Shea McClellan has suffered a concussion while practicing and will be left on IR for the rest of the season (he had previously been placed on IR and had returned to practice to prepare for being activated back to the roster from IR).

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4 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 9

by Anon Ymous // Nov 07, 2017 - 4:13pm

The odd year curse strikes again.

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6 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 9

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Nov 07, 2017 - 5:41pm

According to Irsay, Luck injured the inside of his head.

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8 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 9

by jtr // Nov 09, 2017 - 2:11pm

As I understand it, the Bridgewater injury was much more severe than a typical ACL injury, which is obviously already devastating. Zach, do you have any data on similar injuries to calibrate how optimistic or pessimistic we should be about his return?

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