by Andrew Potter
Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger -- Elbow (IR)
The Steelers have announced following an MRI scan that Ben Roethlisberger will need surgery on his right elbow and will miss the rest of the season. The injury reportedly requires a procedure known as "Tommy John surgery," which will be a term more familiar to baseball fans. It is a reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament at the elbow, which carries a typical rehabilitation and recovery period that ranges from nine months up to approximately two years. Roethlisberger should fall closer to the lower end of that range, therefore he should expect to be ready for opening day 2020 -- assuming he decides to return, having publicly contemplated retirement several times over the past few offseasons. Regardless, his 2019 season is over.
Mason Rudolph, a 2018 third-round pick from Oklahoma State, will be the starter in Roethlisberger's stead. The team recently traded former backup Joshua Dobbs to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Halfback James Conner is awaiting the result of tests on his knee injury today. Defenders Vince Williams, Sean Davis, and Anthony Chickillo also left Sunday's game with injuries; Mike Tomlin usually provides injury updates at his midweek media conference.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees -- Thumb
Ian Rapoport reports today that Drew Brees has a torn ligament in the thumb of his throwing hand. This is most likely also the ulnar collateral ligament, though fortunately the thumb injury is considerably less severe than the elbow injury. Like Roethlisberger, Brees' injury will require surgical repair. That means an absence of around six weeks, and quite possibly longer for the veteran quarterback. The Saints have a bye in Week 9, so most early guesses peg the most likely date for Brees' return as the week 10 fixture against the Atlanta Falcons. Should New Orleans opt to place him on injured reserve, Brees will be unable to play for eight games, which makes that scenario unlikely. Regardless of that decision, Brees will miss games against playoff contenders Seattle and Dallas over the next two weeks, then games against two of the toughest defenses in the league against Jacksonville and Chicago in Week 6 and Week 7.
Brees had only missed one game due to injury in his career to this point -- even the notorious shoulder injury that led to his free agency occurred in the final game of the 2005 season, and did not cost him an appearance -- but the Saints made a significant investment over the past couple of seasons to have Teddy Bridgewater around for this exact scenario. Bridgewater will have a chance not only to hold the fort for the Saints until Brees' return, but to make his case as the potential heir apparent to the aging veteran.
49ers Offensive Tackle Joe Staley -- Leg (IR)
The 49ers announced quickly after Sunday's game that stalwart left tackle Joe Staley broke his fibula against the Bengals and will be placed on injured reserve. The good news is that the team does not believe the injury will end Staley's season, and he has a chance to return later in the year if the 49ers are still in contention. The team is thin at tackle following Shon Coleman's preseason injury and the departure of Garry Gilliam, as they have only one other tackle -- rookie Justin Skule -- on the active roster. They may be in the market for a veteran replacement.
Chargers Safety Adrian Phillips -- Arm
Adrian Phillips broke his forearm against the Lions and is out indefinitely, according to Ian Rapoport. Though the injury is probably not season-ending, it will keep Phillips out for a significant period of time. Phillips was one of the players tasked with replacing star safety Derwin James, who is already on injured reserve with a foot injury. Given that situation, the Chargers are likely to avoid placing Phillips on injured reserve too unless it is absolutely necessary.
Cowboys Receiver Michael Gallup -- Knee
Cowboys receiver Michael Gallup injured his knee in Washington. Ian Rapoport reports that Gallup will miss two to four weeks after arthoscopic surgery to trim his meniscus. Defensive lineman Antwaun Woods injured his knee; the team believes that to be a low-grade MCL sprain, which may allow him to play with a brace or may result in a short absence.
Bengals guard Michael Jordan appears to have avoided serious injury after leaving the team's home defeat against the 49ers with a knee injury. Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com suggests that the injury is merely a bruise. Left tackle Andre Smith injured his groin in the first half, but Hobson suggests that Smith could have returned if absolutely necessary.
Cardinals halfback David Johnson injured his wrist against the Ravens, but he was able to return later in the game.
Colts cornerback Pierre Desir suffered a bone bruise against the Titans, which will probably cause him to miss at least this weekend's game against the Falcons. Fortunately, the injury should not keep him out much longer than that.
Chiefs halfback LeSean McCoy injured his ankle against the Raiders, but he does not believe the injury to be serious. He will have a precautionary MRI scan today. The team reportedly believes that fellow halfback Damian Williams suffered a contusion in his knee. If that report is accurate, pain tolerance will determine how much if any time he misses.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson did not have any update on the many players injured on Sunday night at his media conference today. Of those five -- Dallas Goedert, Alshon Jeffery, Corey Clement, DeSean Jackson, and Tim Jernigan -- Jernigan's broken foot is the most serious. He is expected to miss around a month. Goedert aggravated his existing calf injury during warmups. Corey Clement is expected to miss a week or two with his shoulder injury, but Pederson believes that the others would have been able to play on if it had been a more critical game.
Falcons tackle Kaleb McGary was carted off with a knee injury in the first half, but he was able to return in the fourth quarter.
Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn, who missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL, injured his toe against the Dolphins and will have an MRI scan of the injury today. Until the results of that scan are public, it is difficult to predict the length of any possible absence -- most toe injuries to offensive linemen do not cause missed time, but around half of those that do cause extended absences of six or more weeks.
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was in and out of the game with a back injury against the Saints, but is not expected to miss any further action. Tight end Tyler Higbee suffered soft tissue bruising, which reportedly saw him taken to the hospital after coughing up blood. Despite that, he is not expected to be absent for long. Guard Austin Blythe injured his ankle and is awaiting the results of an MRI scan. The team reportedly is "cautiously optimistic this won't be an IR situation," which does not sound especially optimistic, but no further specifics are yet available.
Redskins tight end Vernon Davis injured his eye against the Cowboys but is not expected to miss time.