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Injury Aftermath: Week 6

Tennessee Titans OT Taylor Lewan
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).

Titans Left Tackle Taylor Lewan -- Knee (Season)

Lewan announced on Twitter that he tore his ACL against the Texans, meaning he will require surgery and his season is over. The middle to end of October is the time at which ACL rehab usually begins to threaten the player's participation in training camp and his readiness for next season, as with modern surgery and rehab a common recovery period is now around nine months. Assuming no further damage to his knee, which would have been observed on the MRI scan that confirmed the ACL tear, Lewan should be ready for the start of 2021, but he will not play again in 2020.

Tight end Jonnu Smith sprained his ankle, but the sprain is considered minor and the team expects to list him as questionable ahead of their Week 7 game against Pittsburgh.

Steelers Linebacker Devin Bush -- Knee (Season)

As with Lewan, Devin Bush tore his ACL, meaning he will require surgery and will miss the rest of the season.

Eagles Tight End Zach Ertz -- Ankle (IR?)

Chris Mortensen reports that the Eagles expect tight end Zach Ertz to miss three or four weeks with the ankle injury he suffered against the Ravens, a period that fits the usual timeline for a mid-grade high-ankle sprain. This makes Ertz a likely candidate for injured reserve under the 2020 rules. Fortunately, fellow tight end Dallas Goedert is eligible to make a timely return from injured reserve this week, assuming Goedert has recovered sufficiently from his own ankle injury.

Halfback Miles Sanders is expected to miss Thursday's game against the Giants with the knee injury he suffered against the Ravens, but he is not expected to miss much, if any, time beyond that. The team hopes to have defensive lineman Malik Jackson and offensive tackle Jack Driscoll available for Thursday night, but that optimism is guarded as either or both may be absent for around two weeks pending further examination.


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

  • Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel
  • Giants receiver C.J. Board

Board's injury was particularly notable as he was clearly knocked unconscious by the impact. He was taken from the game on a stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital for further evaluation. Coach Joe Judge confirmed that Board does have movement in his limbs following the injury, which was announced as a head and neck injury.

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 halfback Raheem Mostert left Sunday's game with an ankle injury. He attempted to return, but left again after only a single play. The team hopes to know more about his status later today. Center Ben Garland has been battling through a high-ankle sprain, but his departure on Sunday night was announced as a calf injury. Calf injuries do not usually result in missed time for offensive linemen -- 60% of players who suffer them return the following week -- but the team may be more cautious with Garland if he is battling multiple ailments.

Broncos linebacker Josh Watson injured his hamstring and will be examined via MRI today. Around two-thirds of hamstring injuries to linebackers cause at least a one-game absence, but 75% of players return within two weeks. Left guard Dalton Risner injured his shoulder, but the team is optimistic that the injury is minor. Kick returner Diontae Spencer's shoulder injury appears more serious: he was wearing a sling after the game, and his injury has been identified as a shoulder/clavicle injury, which may imply a fracture, sprain, or related bone or joint injury. He will presumably have scans on the injury today.

Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker injured his groin, but groin injuries are seldom reasons for concern for wide receivers. Barely 40% of players miss time, and almost 75% miss no more than a single game. Defensive tackle Raekwon Davis injured his shoulder, but that injury is difficult to project without further specifics. Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill suffered a gruesome open dislocation of his finger (a dislocation in which a wound opens from the surface of the skin to the affected joint), but he was able to return to the game after the dislocation was reduced and the wound stitched and bandaged -- just one more reminder that NFL players are not normal human beings.

Giants rookie defensive back Darnay Holmes injured his neck against Washington, but no further specifics are yet available.

Jaguars tight end Tyler Eifert left Sunday's game with a neck injury, likely an aggravation or recurrence of the stinger he reportedly suffered last week. Guard A.J. Cann injured his shoulder and was replaced by Ben Bartch, but no further update is yet available.

Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari left Sunday's game with a chest injury, but the team does not believe that the injury is major. Safety Darnell Savage injured his quadriceps, which is usually a mild injury for defensive backs: around two-thirds of players miss no time at all, and less than 20% miss more than a couple of weeks.

Panthers safety Juston Burris injured his ribs against the Bears, and head coach Matt Rhule expects to have a further update on his status later in the week. Barely 25% of rib injuries to defensive backs result in any missed time at all, and half of the players who miss time return within two weeks. Even if Burris does miss time, he is unlikely to be out for long.

Patriots defensive tackle Adam Butler was questionable with a shoulder injury leading into the shock defeat against the Broncos, and he left that game with an elbow injury. Right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor left the game with an ankle injury after being rolled up on from behind, further depleting an offensive line that was already missing several starters.

Ravens halfback Mark Ingram left Sunday's game, but head coach John Harbaugh does not expect the injury to be anything long-term. The same applies to defensive back Anthony Averett and guard Tyre Phillips

Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes left Sunday's game with a recurrence of the neck injury that had kept him out of the team's previous two games.

Washington offensive lineman Saahdiq Charles dislocated his kneecap against the Giants, and he will not play in Week 7, but the team hopes to have him back following their Week 8 bye. Receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden injured his quad, but quad injuries rarely result in missed time for receivers: 70% of players play the following week, and 80% are back on the field with no more than a single missed game.


9 comments, Last at 21 Oct 2020, 3:43pm

1 "Based on our current data,…

"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."

Which is pretty ridiculous, considering that hockey players with the exact same injury don't return for months. I hate to get semi-political, but it shows that the league has a very long way to go when it comes to seriously caring about brain trauma, and the players are under intense pressure to return to action far before being medically healed. 

At least we've moved past putting the players back in as soon as they regain consciousness.

4 "Based on my observations....

....your baby Ramlets are in for a tussle in the division.  Losing to the depleted Niners was not a good step toward the title.

They didn't match San Fran's energy and were outschemed.

Say what you will about Shanahan, but when he actually gameplans for a team, it can work.

2 Disquieting

I enjoy football, but it's increasingly disquieting that a column like this is necessary.  I know all the points--they know what they're getting into, they're well compensated, risks are a part of life, activity X is more dangerous, the way the game was played in the old days was worse...--but the number and severity of the injuries is beginning to get to me. 


3 this year

In reply to by young curmudgeon

This year seems to have been particularly bad thus far (I'm looking at you week 2), at least in terms of ACL injuries and all-pro level talent.  I do not wish to downplay the importance of preventing and monitoring for CNS injury for NFL players.  However, point to a major sport that doesn't have injuries that affect its athletes. 

8 COVID + Injuries + a Valentine's Day Super Bowl?

the NFL made one of the worst player safety decision i have seen or will have see in a generation.  They decided that the risk of players getting COVID and/or teams being unprepared to manage COVID through testing etc., was far more important they have health and safety of players while in uniform.  Let me explain, players did not have adequate time to condition their bodies, have padded practices and/or participate in pre-season games.  Without this, this left the players unable to fully reach optimal physical condition(s) for football.  As a result, there have been far more ACL injuries, muscle tears/pulls/strains etc., but thankfully, no serious COVID outbreaks.  Ask any NFL player, or anyone in society for that matter under the age of 35 - what would you experience COVID or anyone of the aforementioned injuries? what would be the answer? The NFL does not care about player safety, is it merely a front.  If they did, you find balance.  insert the COVID protocols (you had all summer), commence training camps in August, play 1-2 pre-season games (NFLPA be damned) and start the season in the 3rd week of September.  Every team has the same bye week, say in Week 8, to make it fair (look at what re-scheduled games have done - don't think PIT has forgotten what TEN did to them for this week), give the players Christmas and New Years off (like, week 14 or 15) that's a good concession) and resume again in January, so big deal the season is pushed into February - and wish all the guys and gals a happy valentine's day with the Super Bowl, which ironically lands on a Sunday, because we ain't going anywhere due to COVID.