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Injury Aftermath: Week 10

New Orleans Saints QBs Drew Brees, Jameis Winston, and Taysom Hill
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

During the 2020 season, injured reserve only requires that a player miss a minimum of three weeks, so teams will use that list more freely than in previous seasons. We will therefore distinguish between players placed on injured reserve (IR) and players who we expect to miss the rest of the season (Season).

Saints Quarterback Drew Brees -- Rib

Ed Werder reports that Saints quarterback Drew Brees already had a fractured rib ahead of Week 10's game against San Francisco, and he then suffered fractured ribs on both sides of his chest and a collapsed lung against the 49ers. He is set to miss at least one game, though the team is not expected to place him on injured reserve. We can, at least, infer that they expect him to return within three weeks. The Saints play the Falcons twice in that timespan, sandwiching a road game against the Denver Broncos. Jameis Winston will start at least one and perhaps both of those Falcons games. Winston (in)famously ended his Buccaneers career with a game-clinching pick-six against the Falcons on the first play of overtime in Week 17 last year.

Defensive tackle Malcom Brown injured his calf. Around 60% of calf injuries to defensive linemen cause at least one missed game, but more than half of players who suffer them return to the lineup within two weeks and 75% return within a month.

Ravens Tight End Nick Boyle -- Knee (Season)

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has confirmed that Nick Boyle will miss the rest of the season with the major knee injury he suffered against the Patriots on Sunday night. Though no injury was specified, the injury itself was gruesome enough to suggest a major, and perhaps multiple ligament injury. Boyle is not usually a significant receiving threat -- he has only 1,047 receiving yards in six seasons as a professional -- but he is generally considered one of the best blocking tight ends in the game, and he will be a significant loss to the Ravens rushing attack.

Cornerback Terrell Bonds also left the game with a knee injury, and defensive lineman Brandon Williams injured his ankle.

Rams Left Tackle Andrew Whitworth -- Knee (IR)
Rams Safety Taylor Rapp -- Knee (IR)

Andrew Whitworth, a stalwart of the Rams offensive line since 2017, suffered a ruptured MCL and an injury to his PCL against the Seahawks, but Ian Rapoport reports that his ACL was unharmed. Although Whitworth will be placed on injured reserve and is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season, he does have a chance to return for the postseason if the Rams qualify. Only 25% of MCL injuries to offensive linemen were season-enders under the pre-COVID injured reserve rules, and most players missed around a month. Whitworth's timetable is complicated by the additional injury, and the 39-year-old's age is a factor, but the team has grounds to be optimistic about a late-season return, possibly with the aid of a knee brace.

Safety Taylor Rapp also injured his MCL, with the severity to be confirmed by MRI. Most MCL injuries to defensive backs cause at least a four-week absence, and the additional mobility required by defensive backs is likely a factor in a higher 40% of players missing the rest of the season. Rapp is therefore more likely than Whitworth to miss the remaining regular-season games, but like Whitworth he has a chance to return in time for the playoffs.

Kicker Kai Forbath injured his ankle and did not return.

Jaguars Halfback Chris Thompson -- Back (IR)

The Jaguars have placed receiving back Chris Thompson on injured reserve with the back injury that forced him out of the game against the Packers. The former Washington back and Jay Gruden favorite, who ranked 10th in receiving DVOA entering Week 10, will miss at least the next three weeks.

Left tackle Cam Robinson injured his shoulder, but the exact injury was not specified. Assuming the injury is not a dislocation or labral tear, Robinson is unlikely to miss time: only one in four shoulder injuries outside those severe categories cause missed games for offensive tackles.

Washington Safety Deshazor Everett -- Ankle

Deshazor Everett will reportedly miss time after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the last-second loss against the Lions. High-ankle sprains are bad news for defensive backs: over 80% of players who suffer them miss at least two games, and over half miss at least four. He is a likely candidate for injured reserve.

Left tackle Cornelius Lucas also injured his ankle, but no further specifics are yet available.


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

  • Bengals cornerback Mackensie Alexander
  • Bills defensive end A.J. Epenesa
  • Broncos cornerback Davontae Harris
  • Giants guard Kevin Zeitler
  • Saints receiver Tre'Quan Smith
  • Saints tight end Josh Hill

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 safety Johnathan Cyprien injured his hamstring against the Saints. Most hamstring injuries to defensive backs cause at least a one-game absence, but almost 75% of players are back in action within two weeks. The 49ers have also placed defensive lineman Arik Armstead on the Reserve/COVID list.

Broncos quarterback Drew Lock has a muscle strain around his ribs, but the team hopes to have him available against the Dolphins.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hurt his thumb against Washington, but X-rays showed no fracture and Stafford expects to be available as usual against the Panthers in Week 11. Receiver Danny Amendola injured his hip, but that injury is difficult to project without further specifics.

Packers halfback Tyler Ervin left the victory over his former Jacksonville team with a rib injury. Only around 25% of rib injuries to running backs cause any missed games.

Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a mild MCL sprain against the Buccaneers, but the team does not believe the injury to be significant and they expect Bridgewater to play against the Lions in Week 11. If he does play, it is possible that Bridgewater could wear a protective brace. Cornerback Donte Jackson sprained his big toe ligament against the Buccaneers, a painful and debilitating "turf toe" injury that often results in absences of 2 to 4 weeks.


9 comments, Last at 20 Nov 2020, 12:53am

1 Mind you, multiple bilateral…

Mind you, multiple bilateral rib fractures would literally cripple most normal human beings.

In NFL terms, that's not an IR injury.

7 I think broken ribs are…

I think broken ribs are often played with by pros depending on the severity and pain tolerance. I think it's fairly common. Turf Toe, despite it's funny name, can be debilitating and has even shortened careers. 

2 Brees injury.

It's time to find out whether Winston can keep the Saints afloat until the end of the season when Brees comes back.

Collapsed lung?  I don't even want to imagine how that would feel while playing a game, not to mention the crunched ribs.

Saints will drop a few games, but should get a WC at the worst.

3 Schedule

In reply to by DIVISION

Saints to play Falcons twice and broncos over next three weeks.  If the Saints (with Winston) can't win 2/3, they don't deserve to be in the playoffs.  I would make them the favorite in all three of those games by the way.