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Injury Aftermath: Week 3

Saquon Barkley
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Andrew Potter

Giants Halfback Saquon Barkley -- Ankle

The Giants confirmed last night that star halfback Saquon Barkley suffered a high ankle sprain against the Buccaneers, with MRI scans scheduled today to assess the sprain's severity. Barkley opined that the injury was not too serious, but our numbers suggest otherwise. Around 60% of high ankle sprains to running backs result in an absence of at least four weeks, and almost 40% cause the player to be placed on injured reserve. Of those players who head to injured reserve, around half return after eight or nine weeks, whereas the other half miss the remainder of the season. Unless Barkley's MRI shows an extremely mild sprain, he is probably set for an absence of around a month. Wayne Gallman is expected to start in Barkley's absence.

Linebacker Alec Ogletree injured his hamstring and did not return. Most linebackers return from hamstring injuries in a week or two, with fewer than one in four causing a longer absence.

Falcons Safety Keanu Neal -- Achilles (IR)

For the second time in only four seasons as a professional, Falcons safety Keanu Neal suffered a season-ending injury in the opening month of the regular season. Neal recovered from 2018's early-season ACL tear in time to begin this season, but he tore his Achilles against the Colts and will require season-ending surgery. Neal was a PFWA All-Rookie selection in 2016 and Pro Bowl selection at safety in 2017, but he will now have missed 28 of 32 regular season games since. The Falcons did pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract this past April, at least. Damontae Kazee, who started in Neal's absence last year, has started the past two games as a nickel safety alongside Neal and Ricardo Allen, so Kemal Ishmael appears most likely to replace Neal in the starting lineup.

Edge rusher Takk McKinley hurt his knee, but he was spotted running on the sideline and his injury is not expected to be serious.


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

  • Dolphins receiver Allen Hurns
  • Falcons halfback Ito Smith
  • Vikings guard Josh Kline

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

Other Injuries

49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon left Sunday's game with a foot injury and will have the injury scanned by MRI today. Witherspoon believes that the injury is nothing serious and he hopes to return after the team's Week 4 bye.

Bills guard John Feliciano injured his neck against the Bengals and was spotted wearing a neckbrace after the game. No further specifics are yet public. Rotational defensive tackle Harrison Phillips injured his knee and will have an MRI scan today.

Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe suffered a significant high-ankle sprain that is likely to keep him out for approximately four to six weeks. More than half of such sprains keep defensive linemen out for at least four weeks, but 75% of defensive linemen return within that six-week timeframe.

Cardinals punter Andy Lee injured his hip flexor against the Panthers, meaning Zane Gonzalez handled some punting duties in that game. That's such a specific injury to such a specific position that we don't have much recovery data, but hip injuries to special teams do not usually cause them to miss any time. Seventy-five percent allow special teamers to return within one game, and the others are usually serious injuries that result in the player heading to injured reserve.

Chargers tight end Virgil Green injured his groin against the Texans and did not return. Groin injuries to tight ends are seldom severe; more than 60% do not result in a missed game. Of the remaining 40%, cause an absence of one to three games. An MRI scan will determine the injury's severity.

Chiefs halfback LeSean McCoy left Sunday's game with an ankle injury, but the injury was described as a "tweak" and is not believed to be serious.

Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton tweaked his injured quad against the Falcons, but most reports indicate that the Colts were being cautious with Hilton and he is not expected to miss extended time. Most quad injuries to receivers are mild; over 80% of receivers are back in action within a week of injuring a quad, and around 70% do not miss a game. Defensive end Tyquan Lewis suffered an ankle injury and was spotted in a protective boot after the game; an MRI scan will determine the injury's severity.

Dolphins left tackle Jesse Davis injured his right arm and did not return. No specifics are yet public, though Davis was spotted with a brace on the arm. Assuming that the arm is not fractured, we have no data from which to assess the likely severity of the injury. More news is expected later this week.

The Eagles suffered another spate of injuries this week. Left tackle Jason Peters took ill during the game. Defensive end Derek Barnett left briefly with an ankle injury, but he was able to return. Offensive tackle Andre Dillard injured his knee, but Doug Pederson expects Dillard to be OK. Cornerback Ronald Darby injured his hamstring, and Pederson had no update on that at his Monday media conference. Hamstring injuries commonly result in absences of one or two games for defensive backs.

Lions defensive tackle Mike Daniels injured his foot against the Eagles and was seen in a protective boot after the game. X-rays reportedly showed no fracture, but Daniels awaits the result of an MRI scan on the injury. Daniels' 2018 season ended early because of a foot injury, but that was to the opposite foot. Cornerback Darius Slay injured his hamstring. He did not sound optimistic about playing next week, but most hamstring injuries to defensive backs are not major: just under 75% of players return within two weeks.

Patriots receiver Julian Edelman injured his chest against the Jets and was ruled out of the game, but no specifics are yet available. Chest injuries to wide receivers are rarely serious; 75% result in either no missed games or only a single-week absence. Fellow receiver Josh Gordon injured his hand, widely reported to be a finger injury, but returned to finish the game and is not expected to miss further time.

Raiders linebacker Marquel Lee was yet another high-ankle sprain victim this weekend. Around 85% of those injuries cause linebackers to miss at least three games, though close to 100% return to play within seven weeks. Reports suggest that Lee's sprain was relatively minor, so hopefully he will return quicker than the average linebacker.

Steelers tight end Vance McDonald injured his shoulder against the 49ers and did not return. No further information is yet public. Mike Tomin usually provides injury updates later in the week.


8 comments, Last at 25 Sep 2019, 2:57am

5 Lack of Specifics

In reply to by panthersnbraves

The lack of specifics makes it really, really difficult to predict. We have three buckets for foot injuries: Lisfranc, fracture, and other. Most miscellaneous foot injuries don't cause any missed time at all. Almost all miscellaneous foot injuries that cause a quarterback to miss more than one game result in either short-term or season-long IR. That's unsettling, but it doesn't sound like Newton's season is in jeopardy. We just don't know enough either way.

7 Dire News

In reply to by LyleNM

If it is a Lisfranc injury, then that's dire news. We have so few instances at any position of a player missing less than five weeks with a Lisfranc injury that they might as well be zero. Around 10 percent of players return around the five-week mark, but the other 90 percent miss the entire remainder of the season.