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Injury Aftermath: Week 8

Baltimore Ravens OT Ronnie Stanley
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).

Ravens Left Tackle Ronnie Stanley -- Leg (Season)

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh confirmed after the team's defeat against the Steelers that left tackle Ronnie Stanley will miss the rest of the season with the ankle injury he sustained in the loss. Reports since have specified that the injury is a fracture and dislocation with additional ligament damage, meaning that Stanley will probably require surgery. Assuming no complications, he should return by opening day 2021, but he will not play again this season.

Guard Tyre Phillips also injured his ankle and did not return.

49ers Tight End George Kittle -- Foot (IR)
49ers Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo -- Ankle (IR)

The injury-plagued 49ers have now lost both George Kittle and Jimmy Garoppolo again for extended periods. Kittle's injury was initially announced as an ankle injury, and X-rays on the ankle were negative, but later X-rays on his foot found a fracture that will keep him out for an extended period. Foot fractures in our database are terrible news: just under 75% of players who suffer them miss at least eight weeks (the pre-2020 injured reserve designated-return period), and more than 60% miss the entire remainder of the season. Though this injury should not affect him beyond the end of this season, Kittle's outlook for this winter is grim.

As if that was not bad enough, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered another high-ankle sprain, likely an aggravation of his existing injury. High-ankle sprains are usually three- or four-week injuries; just over half of players who suffer them return within four weeks, but a clear majority miss at least three. That fits with Garoppolo's timetable from earlier this season, when he missed Weeks 3 through 5. However, it this is an aggravation, Garoppolo's timetable is likely longer than it was for that initial injury: an estimate of six to eight weeks, concomitant with a higher-grade sprain, is realistic. In the unlikely event the 49ers make the playoffs without him, Garoppolo should be fit well in time for that. If, as looks likely, they are out of the running by then, we may not see him again this season.

Jaguars Quarterback Gardner Minshew -- Thumb

Recent reports indicate that Gardner Minshew has been concealing a thumb injury that will keep him out for Week 9 and possibly longer. The Jaguars coaching staff also indicated that there is "no guarantee" Minshew will reclaim the starting job even when he does return. Sixth-round rookie Jake Luton is currently being prepared as the starter ahead of veteran Mike Glennon, on the off chance you're interested in the Jaguars backup quarterback battle.

Lions Receiver Kenny Golladay -- Hip (Possible IR)

Lions receiver Kenny Golladay is expected to miss at least Week 9 and possibly beyond with the hip injury he suffered against the Colts. If further tests suggest that the injury will cost Golladay more than a couple of games, he may be a candidate for injured reserve, but that does not appear to be the current plan.

Concussions

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

  • Bills center Mitch Morse
  • Browns defensive tackle Vincent Taylor
  • Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa
  • Titans receiver Adam Humphries
  • Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler

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.

COVID-19

We don't usually mention COVID-19 in this article, because teams do not test on game day, so the results are usually announced later in the week. However, three high-profile positive tests have already been announced ahead of Week 9: Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey, Packers halfback A.J. Dillon, and Cardinals linebacker Devon Kennard. Similarly to concussions, those players will have to clear the league protocol, which mandates that a player be asymptomatic for at least five days following a positive test. That means Dillon will not be available for Thursday Night Football against the 49ers. The others may be able to clear the protocol in time for Week 9.

Other Injuries

Bengals cornerback Darius Phillips injured his groin against the Titans. Around half of groin injuries to cornerbacks cause at least a one-game absence, but 75% return within two weeks.

Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett injured his knee against the Raiders, but the team expects to have him back after their Week 9 bye.

Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton injured his groin against the Browns. Most groin injuries to receivers do not cause missed time, and over 75% of receivers who suffer them return within two weeks. Fellow receiver Ashton Dulin injured his knee, but the injury does not appear to be major.

Eagles cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Malik Jackson both left Sunday's game, but head coach Doug Pederson stated that the injuries are not significant.

Patriots linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley injured his groin against the Bills. Most groin injuries to linebackers do not result in missed games, and 75% of players who suffer them are back within two weeks. No update is available for defensive tackle Lawrence Guy.

Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey took ill ahead of Sunday's game and did not play, but he is not expected to miss further time. Halfback Darrell Henderson aggravated his existing quadriceps injury. Less than 40% of quad injuries result in missed time, but Henderson's aggravation may mean that he lands among that group.

Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins reportedly suffered a mild MCL sprain against the Bears. 75% of defensive linemen miss at least two weeks with an MCL sprain, but it sounds as though Rankins' injury might fit into the other 25%. Linemen in particular are sometimes able to return earlier with the aid of a knee brace.

Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward injured his quad against the Ravens, but the injury is nothing major. Defensive end Tyson Alualu suffered a low-grade MCL sprain, which usually causes an absence of two to four weeks.

Comments

14 comments, Last at 04 Nov 2020, 11:49am

2 Waiver to policy

Based on the number & degree of injuries to SF this year, I propose they get to play in specialized armor to prevent MSK injuries or they are just simply awarded a .500 outcome for the rest of the year so the team stays home.  JTFC, how many more injuries can they get?

8 He's listed under…

In reply to by Joseph

He's listed under concussions because that was the report I saw, but I see now that there's more to his injury. From what I gather, he's fine, and may even be available for Week 9.

10 Dantzler

Thanks for the reply--I missed him in the concussion list. From the way they took him off, I was expecting at least short term IR, if not "season."

11 The hope is always that…

In reply to by Joseph

The hope is always that stretchers are neck braces are precautionary. Fortunately, that appears to have been the case here.

4 They do test for COVID on…

They do test for COVID on gameday, that has been the policy since week 6 I believe. After the Titans chaos, they made changes. But the results of Sunday tests aren't available until Monday.

5 Mark Fields II

Any word on the prognosis for Vikings CB Mark Fields II, who suffered a punctured lung from a cleat on Sunday?   (his dad was a linebacker for the Saints and others).   Is there much data on missed time for punctured lungs?

6 That's an injury so rare, we…

In reply to by andrew

That's an injury so rare, we don't have enough data to make an educated guess. The word this morning seems to be 2-3 weeks, which could mean a short spell on injured reserve.

I've never heard of that happening from a cleat. That's crazy.

9 speculation is that the…

speculation is that the cleat did not itself puncture the lung, rather it broke a rib which then did so.   but that would also mean a broken rib, would that make sense give the couple weeks scenario?

12 Yes. 90% of defensive backs…

Yes. 90% of defensive backs with rib injuries, which include fractures, are back within three weeks. The rest are almost all season-enders. It doesn't sound like he's done for the year, so 2-3 weeks is entirely realistic, perhaps with a flak jacket if they deem it necessary.

This is your weekly reminder that NFL players are not like the rest of us. The one time I cracked a rib, which came playing full-contact football, it was two weeks before I could even breathe properly.

13 49ers

At least they had enough healthy bodies to beat the snot out of the Patriots.  Since that game was decided, they've lost Jeff Wilson, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Jimmy G has re-aggravated his ankle injury.  

DVOA is never going to figure out that the Patriots played a different team than the one most of the NFL will see this season.  Oh, well.

The 49ers might be able to win the NFC East with who they have left.  But I don't see how they can be a contender in a division with the Seahawks and the Cardinals playing so well.  

14 Presuming the injury demon…

In reply to by RickD

Presuming the injury demon afflicting the team this year moves on, I fully expect them to go first (2019), fourth (2020), and back to first (2021).  I'm too lazy to research it but I would be surprised if that has happened very often.