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Injury Aftermath: Week 13

by Andrew Potter

Redskins Quarterback Colt McCoy -- Leg (IR)

The big news out of Monday Night Football was the loss of a second Washington quarterback for the season with a broken leg. Colt McCoy, starting in place of of Alex Smith, suffered the fibula fracture on an innocuous-looking play at the end of the first quarter, when his right leg whipped up to collide with Malcolm Jenkins as McCoy dived to the ground. McCoy stayed in the game for two more plays, completing two passes (one of which was called back on an offensive line penalty), before heading to the locker room for an x-ray that revealed the fracture. Mark Sanchez replaced McCoy in the game, and should become Washington's third starting quarterback of the season against the Giants in Week 14. The team will add a backup for Sanchez when McCoy is officially placed on injured reserve today.

Bengals Receiver A.J. Green -- Foot (IR)

A.J. Green has battled a "turf toe" ligament injury for several weeks, and that injury is now widely expected to end his season. In his return from a two-week absence, Green was carted off early against the Broncos, and today's news seems to indicate that the injury is an aggravation of the existing sprain. Green will have tests today to confirm an exact diagnosis, but the Bengals are expected to place him on injured reserve unless the injury is considerably milder than it appears. With starting quarterback Andy Dalton already out for the year and the 5-7 Bengals looking well out of playoff contention, there is little incentive to risk Green further in what looks like a lost season.

Panthers Tight End Greg Olsen -- Foot (IR)

Greg Olsen hobbled to the sideline without placing weight on his foot in what has become a depressingly familiar sight for Panthers fans over the past two seasons. Though Olsen did not suffer a recurrence of the fracture that kept him out for much of last season and for four weeks earlier this, he instead suffered a rupture of the plantar fascia -- the ligament that connects the back of the foot to the front. This is likely to be the result of a change in Olsen's running technique to compensate for the pain from the fracture, and it will rule him out for the rest of the season. An ever-present name in the Panthers lineup from his arrival in Charlotte in 2011 through to the end of 2016, Olsen will now have missed 50 percent of the team's games across 2017 and 2018. Though this injury should not threaten his career, Olsen turns 34 in March; his recent injury history is most than just a short-term concern.

Fourth-round rookie Ian Thomas is expected to deputize for Olsen, at least in the passing game. Thomas had five catches in five targets for 46 yards in relief against the Buccaneers, to go with eight catches in 14 targets in Olsen's stead from Weeks 2 through 5.

Cardinals Receiver Christian Kirk -- Foot (IR)

Head coach Steve Wilks announced today that leading receiver Christian Kirk will be placed on injured reserve with a foot fracture he suffered against the Packers. Kirk had 54 receiving yards on three catches and one rushing attempt for 23 yards against Green Bay, and early reports after the game contained no mention of his injury. Despite the Cardinals' struggles in the passing game, Kirk had a marginally positive DVOA entering Week 13, and led the team with 60 DYAR. Veteran J.J. Nelson and rookie Trent Sherfield are the primary candidates to replace Kirk in the starting lineup.

Guard Mike Iupati was also placed on injured reserve after injuring his knee against the Packers. Iupati was replaced in the lineup by rookie Colby Gossett.

Broncos Cornerback Chris Harris -- Leg

Though Chris Harris did suffer a hairline fracture of his fibula against the Bengals, the injury is not severe enough to require surgery, is not expected to end his season, and will not see the team place him on injured reserve. Harris is unlikely to return during the regular season, but the 6-6 Broncos hope to have him back in time for the playoffs. Third-round rookie Isaac Yiadom replaced Harris in a depleted Broncos backfield against the Bengals, and is expected to continue there for the immediate future, but the team is expected to explore free-agent options this week to bolster their depth in the absence of Harris and Tramaine Brock.

Defensive lineman Derek Wolfe injured his ribs and did not return to the game. No update is yet available for Wolfe.

Steelers Halfback James Conner -- Leg

Although the video of the play strongly suggested a high-ankle injury mechanism, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stated that halfback James Conner suffered only a lower-leg contusion against the Chargers. If accurate, that is much better news than the high-ankle sprain: a contusion might keep Conner out for a game or two, whereas 50 percent of high-ankle sprains keep halfbacks out for four or more weeks. Assuming the contusion diagnosis is correct, Conner will probably be questionable for Sunday's visit to Oakland, with pain tolerance determining whether he is able to suit up in Week 14. Practice reports will tell us more, and Tomlin usually provides injury updates at his midweek media conference.

If Conner does miss time, Jaylen Samuels' status as the second back on the depth chart does not necessarily mean that he would be a direct replacement in a starting role. Samuels would likely take over some of the responsibilities on passing downs, but former Patriots and Jets veteran Stevan Ridley is more likely to assume Conner's workload as the team's primary ballcarrier.

UPDATE: Mike Tomlin confirmed on Tuesday that MRI scans revealed the sprain, and that Conner will miss Week 14 at the very least. As noted above, a mid-grade high-ankle sprain is likely to keep Conner out for 2-4 weeks. Though the player should be fine for the real-world playoffs, he is likely to miss most, if not all, of the fantasy-league postseason.

Receiver Justin Hunter injured his shoulder. No update is yet available for Hunter.


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

  • Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict
  • Browns cornerback Denzel Ward
  • Buccaneers safety Isaiah Johnson
  • Steelers receiver Ryan Switzer
  • Texans right tackle Kendall Lamm
  • Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes

Waynes' injury is notable as he has already missed Minnesota's Week 5 game against Philadelphia due to a concussion he sustained against the Rams in Week 4. The second concussion makes him more likely than most to miss the team's next game. The Vikings do not play until Monday night, which gives Waynes an extra day to clear the league protocol.

Other Injuries

49ers halfback Matt Breida has been plagued by ankle issues this season, and he was again limited by that against the Seahawks. Rookie Jeff Wilson handled most of the workload, with Breida limited to just eight touches in the blowout defeat. Midweek practice reports will have more detail on Breida's situation, but it would be no surprise to see the 49ers be cautious with their leading rusher as they are left competing only for draft position.

Bills center Russell Bodine fractured his fibula against the Dolphins and will miss the rest of the season. He will have surgery to repair the break, and the Bills are hosting free agent Dillon Day with a view to replacing Bodine on the 53-man roster. Bodine was replaced at center against the Dolphins by Ryan Groy, who has started ten games for the team since joining them in 2015. Groy is expected to start for the rest of the season.

Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi injured his biceps against the Texans and did not return. Assuming Ogunjobi did not suffer a season-ending tear, around 50 percent of mundane biceps injuries cause defensive linemen to miss at least one game. Seventy-five percent of those players are back on the field within two weeks. Ogunjobi expects to be available as usual in Week 14.

Buccaneers safety Justin Evans left Sunday's game with an aggravation of the toe injury that had him listed as questionable in the buildup to Week 13. No update is yet available for Evans, but the aggravation does suggest that he is likely to miss further time.

Dolphins cornerback Cornell Armstrong, a sixth-round rookie who plays primarily on special teams, injured his knee against the Bills and did not return. The team does not believe his injury to be serious.

Giants safety Landon Collins left Sunday's victory over the Chicago Bears with a shoulder injury and did not return.

Jaguars right tackle Jermey Parnell left Sunday's victory over the Colts with a foot injury, but he was able to return to the game. He is expected to be available for Thursday night's trip to Tennessee.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was treated after the game for an undisclosed injury, though he claimed to be fine after the game. His injury is not currently believed to be significant, but practice participation will probably tell us more.

Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga and right guard Byron Bell both left Sunday's defeat against the Cardinals with knee injuries, one week after they lost left tackle David Bakhtiari and left guard Lane Taylor against the Vikings. Bakhtiari and Taylor were able to play this week, and the early hope is that the same will be true next for Bulaga and Bell, but the recent upheaval in Green Bay makes any specific news unlikely until the midweek practice reports are released.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski left their game temporarily in the second half, but he was later able to return. The Patriots have been very cautious with Gronkowski this season, and fans should expect that to continue for the remainder of the regular season. That means even a seemingly minor ailment bears watching in the midweek practice reports ahead of the team's Week 14 trip to Miami.

Rams backup halfback Malcolm Brown injured his shoulder against the Lions and did not return. No further update is yet available.

Ravens guard Alex Lewis left Sunday's victory in Atlanta after aggravating his existing shoulder injury. Shoulder injuries tend not to result in much missed time for offensive linemen -- only around a quarter cause even one missed game -- and absent major injuries such as labral tears or dislocations, most linemen will attempt to play through the injury with the benefit of a harness or other protective equipment. Practice participation will reveal more, but Lewis is unlikely to be absent for long. Tight end Maxx Williams suffered a shoulder stinger, and will be evaluated throughout the coming week.

Seahawks guard D.J. Fluker strained his hamstring in the second half of Sunday's blowout home victory, and Pete Carroll called the injury "pretty significant" after the game. Around half of hamstring injuries cause offensive linemen to miss a game, but only around 25 percent cause absences of more than two weeks. Scans and practice participation will tell us more, and Fluker will have an extra day to recover ahead on the Monday Night Football clash against the Vikings, but he is likely to be questionable for that game unless he gets particularly good news (or particularly bad news) from the MRI scan.

Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph suffered a neck stinger against the Browns, but he is expected to recover in time to face the Colts in Week 14.


10 comments, Last at 06 Dec 2018, 2:08pm

2 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 13

I don't wish injury on any player, but it would be interesting to see how many QBs would have to go down across the league before someone would finally break down and sign a certain unemployed QB. When teams are already turning to guys who haven't played in the league in a couple years, the argument that he's been away from the game too long doesn't really hold water.

5 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 13

It's a two way street. Kap would be crazy to take a deal right now that throws him into an unfamiliar system where he's likely to fail.

It's too late in the season to be adding a new QB to throw to the wolves. Unless you're the Jags and are already looking for a solution for next year.

9 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 13

It's too late in the season to be adding a new QB to throw to the wolves. Unless you're the Jags and are already looking for a solution for next year.

That's already where they're at, though. Sanchez wasn't signed until after Alex Smith got hurt, and Smith will be 35 coming off of a multiple leg fracture next year. If they're not looking for a solution for 2019, it's not because they don't need to be.

8 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 13

Beat me to that by a couple of minutes. I know injuries are part of the game, but the breadth of injuries on some teams seems abnormal this year. I guess another chance for Broncos youngsters to come through.

Hopefully there is enough time for Sanders to recover before next season, though I suspect achilles tear might be a fairly long rehab from seeing some friends come back from it.

10 Re: Injury Aftermath: Week 13

Landon Collins is having season-ending shoulder surgery. He may have played his last game as a Giant, as he's an unrestricted free agent this offseason.