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Injury Aftermath: Week 11

Injured Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Andrew Potter

Colts Halfback Marlon Mack -- Hand

Marlon Mack had surgery today on the metacarpal (hand bone) he fractured against the Jaguars. The Colts starter will be absent for "several weeks," according to reports, but he hopes to return some time in December. We have too little data on specific halfback hand fractures to project the likely duration of Mack's absence, but around 50 percent of all players miss three or more weeks and one in four miss the rest of the season. (That figure is specifically for hand fractures; wrist, finger, and thumb fractures are all counted separately.) Mack will definitely miss this week's crucial divisional Thursday night matchup against the Texans; the most likely realistic estimate for his possible return is the Week 15 Monday night game in New Orleans.

After Mack left the game against the Jaguars, backup Jonathan Williams rushed for 116 yards -- giving the Colts two 100-yard rushers in a single game for the first time in team history. Williams is likely to be the starter in Mack's absence.

Bills Offensive Tackle Ty Nsekhe -- Ankle (IR)

Ty Nsekhe suffered a serious-looking ankle injury against the Dolphins, which resulted in him being carted off with an air cast on his leg. Though no diagnosis has yet been confirmed, the mechanism was consistent with a severe high ankle sprain or a fracture, either of which would end the veteran's season.

Alabama Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa -- Hip

Though we do not usually cover college football injuries in this column, we occasionally make exceptions for particularly notable instances. Top quarterback prospect Tua Tagovailoa certainly qualifies; he has long been considered the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft, but he suffered a dislocation and fracture of his right hip this past weekend and will miss the rest of the season. Hip dislocations are generally major medical emergencies, but they also bring an increased risk of future dislocation -- witness former Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, whose career was ended by his third right hip dislocation in five years between 2013 and 2017. Tagovailoa's injury history was already a reported concern for teams even before this incident; this is among the worst possible injuries at the worst possible time for the 21-year-old college junior.


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

  • Colts safety Khari Willis
  • Eagles tackle Lane Johnson
  • Lions defensive end Trey Flowers
  • Patriots receiver Phillip Dorsett
  • Saints tight end Josh Hill
  • Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson
  • Steelers receiver Juju Smith-Schuster
  • Texans safety Mike Adams

Based on our current data, a growing majority of players now miss at least one game following a diagnosed concussion, but around 80 percent return within two weeks.

Smith-Schuster's injury is particularly notable as he also injured his knee on the play, putting his availability against the Bengals next week in significant doubt.

Other Injuries

49ers edge rusher Dee Ford injured his hamstring against the Cardinals and did not return. Hamstring injuries to front seven defenders usually result in at least a one-week absence, but 75 percent return within three weeks.

Bengals receiver Auden Tate suffered a scary-looking injury and was carted off strapped to a backboard against the Raiders, but reports since indicate that Tate is fine. Whether that is fine enough to play in Week 12 is not yet clear, but he at least appears to have avoided major injury.

Broncos fullback Andy Janovich dislocated his elbow and will miss the rest of the season.

Jaguars tight end Josh Oliver, who was only starting because of season-ending injuries to Geoff Swaim and James O'Shaughnessy and a further injury to Seth DeValve, suffered fractures in his back against the Colts and may miss the rest of the season. The team signed former Bills and Dolphins tight end Nick O'Leary today as a potential replacement for Oliver, but they also hope to have DeValve available again in Week 12.

Texans defensive backs Lonnie Johnson and Justin Reid both left Sunday's game with injuries, which is notable because the team plays on Thursday night this week. Neither injury is believed to be serious, but the short week does make an absence for one or both more likely.

Vikings safety Harrison Smith injured his hamstring against the Broncos. Around 50 percent of hamstring injuries to defensive backs result in at least a one-week absence, but 75 percent of players return within three weeks.


4 comments, Last at 19 Nov 2019, 10:49pm

1 Harrison Smith

I guess the one good thing with this injury is the Vikings have a bye week next week. Jayron Kearse made some plays in his absence, but they were also missing Anthony Harris last week. They will need both against Seattle...

2 Miami just cut Watson

Meaning Ballage is going to start the rest of the year by default. When is the last time a teams leading rusher average less than 2 ypc?

3 Never. If the season ended…


If the season ended today, Ballage would set the record for most rushing attempts by a player who failed to top 2 YPC since 1956. The current record holder is Deji Karim, who ran for 63/120/0 with the 2011 Jacksonville Jaguars. Ballage currently has 64/122/3.

If you don't limit things to the post-merger era, then technically the record belongs to Davey O'Brien, who ran for 108/-14/1 with the 1939 Philadelphia Eagles. But as you might guess from the negative rushing yards, O'Brien was a quarterback and sacks counted as rushing attempts back then.

Excluding QBs (guys with 20+ passing attempts), the record belongs to Rip Collins, who ran for 69/101/0 with the 1950 Baltimore Colts.

And if we round to the nearest tenth of a yard before applying the cutoff, then the recordholder is Eddie Price, who ran for 101/206/2 (2.04 ypc) with the 1953 New York Giants.

4 I hope Tua collects the…

I hope Tua collects the insurance (assuming he had it) rather than coming back; it seems unlikely he'd ever be the same, and I've heard the going rate for guys in consideration for being the #1 pick to be insured for is ten million, enou th to live comfortably for whatever he decides to pursue next; just a sad situation all around