Pittsburgh Steelers WR Juju Smith-Schuster

Week 5 Injuries: Russell Wilson, Juju Smith-Schuster Among Major Injuries

The NFL retained last season's relaxed injured reserve rules for 2021, meaning that any player who is placed on injured reserve after the final roster cutdown day is eligible to return to practice after missing three weeks. As a result, we will continue to distinguish between players who will be placed on injured reserve (IR) and players who will likely miss the entire remainder of the season (Season).

Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson—Hand (IR)

Russell Wilson suffered "an exterior tendon rupture and a comminuted fracture-dislocation of the proximal interphalangeal joint" on his throwing hand, which in layman's terms means a fractured and dislocated finger with additional damage that required surgical repair. He is likely to miss at least a month with the injury, the first missed games of his career, but he should return to play in early November. Former Jets starter Geno Smith replaced Wilson against the Rams and will be first in line to start during his absence.

Cardinals Tight End Maxx Williams—Knee (Season)

Though the exact injury was not specified, the Cardinals reportedly believe that Maxx Williams suffered a major, season-ending knee injury against the 49ers. Williams' knee buckled as he was tackled following a pass reception and he was carted off. It appears likely that he will require knee surgery, and that his season is over.

Center Rodney Hudson left the game with a rib injury, and linebacker Zeke Turner injured his shoulder.

Steelers Receiver Juju Smith-Schuster—Shoulder (Season)

Steelers receiver Juju Smith-Schuster dislocated his shoulder against the Broncos. Following surgery on the injury last night, he will miss the rest of the season.

Linebacker Devin Bush injured his groin. This is unlikely to be anything major: a narrow majority of groin injuries to linebackers do not cause missed time, and 75% of players who suffer them return within two weeks.

Lions Receiver Quintez Cephus—Collarbone (IR/Season)

Quintez Cephus fractured his collarbone against the Vikings, which will rule him out for at least eight weeks and may end his season. A 2020 fifth-round pick, Cephus was the team's leading wide receiver (albeit third-leading receiver) with 204 yards on 22 targets. Though we do not have enough data to differentiate by position, around 85% of all collarbone fractures result in at least an eight-week absence, and around 60% are season-ending. However, Cephus should be fine well in time for the beginning of the team's offseason program.

Cornerback Corey Ballentine injured his hamstring. Around 65% of hamstring injuries to defensive backs cause at least a one-game absence, but 75% of players who suffer them return within three weeks.

Chargers Guard Oday Aboushi—Knee (Season)

Reports suggest that Oday Aboushi tore his ACL against the Browns, with MRI scans scheduled for today to confirm the diagnosis and check for additional damage. The injury will require surgical repair, which will end his season. Now that we are in October, the chance of ACL recovery affecting the beginning of next season begins to increase. Aboushi is likely to miss at least some of the offseason program, but he has a strong chance to be available for opening day 2022.

Bengals Linebacker Jordan Evans—Knee (Season)

Jordan Evans tore his ACL against the Packers and will miss the rest of the season. As with Oday Aboushi, Evans is likely to miss at least some of the offseason program, but he has a good chance to be healthy in time for opening day.

Quarterback Joe Burrow was taken to hospital with a potential throat contusion, but he has been released and is not expected to miss time.

Bears Linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu—Pectoral

Jeremiah Attaochu injured his pectoral against the Raiders, which is almost always dire news for a linebacker. Around 80% of such injuries to linebackers cause them to miss the rest of the season. Though the team has not yet announced anything about the injury, it is very likely that Attaochu will be placed on injured reserve and miss the rest of the year.

Fellow linebacker and special teamer Caleb Johnson left the game with a knee injury, as did tackle Germain Ifedi.

Chiefs halfback Clyde Edwards-Helaire—Knee

Clyde Edwards-Helaire sprained his MCL against the Bills and is likely to miss a few weeks. 75% of halfbacks with MCL injuries miss at least two games, though only 40% miss more than three games. Depending on severity, that may make Edwards-Helaire a candidate for a brief stay on injured reserve.

Offensive lineman Joe Thuney fractured his hand. Depending on the severity of the fracture, this may not be as bad as it sounds: some offensive linemen are able to play through hand fractures with a splint or other support device. Most hand fractures do cause at least a one-game absence, but just under 50% of players who suffer them return within two weeks.

Receiver Tyreek Hill suffered a minor knee injury, but Hill is not expected to miss any games. Tight end Travis Kelce suffered a stinger, which would not usually result in missed time.

Buccaneers Linebacker Lavonte David—Ankle (IR?)

Buccaneers linebacker and long-time FO favorite Lavonte David suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Dolphins. Around 70% of high-ankle sprains to linebackers result in at least a four-game absence, making David a strong candidate to be placed on injured reserve. Nearly all linebackers return within eight weeks, however, so David should be fine well in time for the postseason, assuming the Buccaneers make it.

Quarterback Tom Brady hurt the thumb on his throwing hand in the same game, but the current expectation is that Brady will be fine to play on Thursday night against the Eagles.


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

  • Giants quarterback Daniel Jones
  • Saints quarterback Taysom 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

Broncos cornerback Mike Ford is likely to miss at least a couple of weeks with the knee injury he suffered against the Steelers, according to head coach Vic Fangio.

Browns cornerback Denzel Ward injured his neck against the Chargers. Safety M.J. Stewart injured his hamstring, making him likely to miss at least one game. Fellow defensive back Greedy Williams injured his shoulder. All three will have MRI scans today, as will offensive lineman Jack Conklin.

Dolphins tight end Adam Shaheen is considered day-to-day after leaving yesterday's game with a knee injury.

Football Team receiver Curtis Samuel was limited against the Saints to avoid aggravating his groin injury. Tackle Sam Cosmi left the game temporarily but was able to return. Cornerback Darryl Roberts injured his quad, but most quad injuries to defensive backs do not result in missed games.

Giants halfback Saquon Barkley injured his ankle against the Cowboys and did not return. Early reports suggest that the injury was a low-ankle sprain, and that Barkley is considered week-to-week. Assuming he is not placed on injured reserve, he is likely to miss Week 6 and be considered questionable at the start of Week 7. Practice participation reports will tell us more about how likely he is to play that weekend. Receiver Kenny Golladay suffered what has been termed a hyperextended knee, with MRI tests scheduled today to determine the injury's severity. Cornerback Rodarius Williams also injured his knee, but no further information is yet public.

Jaguars center Brandon Linder will miss approximately a month with a high-ankle sprain and MCL injury. The team is likely to place him on injured reserve while he recovers. Linebacker Myles Jack injured his oblique, but he may be able to play against the Dolphins in London in Week 6.

Packers cornerback Kevin King injured his shoulder against the Bengals, but no further news is yet available.

Patriots halfback Damien Harris injured his ribs against the Texans, but he was medically cleared today and is unlikely to miss time.

Saints receiver Deonte Harris injured his hamstring against the Football Team. Around half of hamstring injuries to receivers cause at least a one-game absence, but most players who suffer them return within three weeks.

Texans offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil tore the UCL in his thumb, an injury which will require surgical repair. However, the team hopes that Tunsil will be able to play through the injury until the end of the season, then have the surgery. Given that the injury was so bad that Tunsil could not punch effectively on blocks against the Patriots, this is unlikely to go very well.

Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans injured his quad against the Jaguars, but most quad injuries do not result in missed time. Guard Rodger Saffold is playing through an existing shoulder injury, but that has caused him to miss snaps over the past few weeks. Linebacker Monty Rice injured his groin, which usually means a 50/50 chance to play the following week but no more than a two-game absence.


12 comments, Last at 15 Oct 2021, 9:48pm

1 Dan Arnold.

May be time to try to snag TE Arnold from the Jags.

They're not going anywhere this year, so might as well.


3 What about the playoffs?

"Though we do not have enough data to differentiate by position, around 85% of all collarbone fractures result in at least an eight-week absence, and around 60% are season-ending. However, Cephus should be fine well in time for the beginning of the team's offseason program."

Are you saying he won't be back in time to help the Lions in January?

5 ;-)

Lions training staff has a miserable record of getting their injured players back on the field in January. No wonder they never make the playoffs.

11 Jimmy G.

Garropolo will be healthy enough to start after their bye, but it appears that Shanahan wants Jimmy G to finish the year no matter what.

Looks like the Arizona game was a throw-away for him, which makes sense based on the play-calling.

7 More injuries than ever?

I was hoping that Andrew will answer the following:

1.  Are there more injuries than ever in 2021?

2.  Has there been an upward trend in injuries in the past 5-10 years?  

It certainly seems that these statements are true, but I have no data to support or refute.

I was hoping that you could provide information

8 We don't calculate adjusted…

We don't calculate adjusted games lost until the end of the year, but they definitely have been on an upward trend, though that seemed to level off in 2019.


That seemed to continue last year, though the effects of COVID make that really complicated to analyze.


10 Thanks for your response Vince

My concern for the NFL is that as players get bigger, faster, and stronger, that yesteryears mid size car crash going at 55 MPH has become today's 70 MPH SUV crash and the future's 85 MPH truck crash.  

My theory is that despite all of the rule changes to increase player safety, the laws of physics will take over and the player crashes will become more and more serious over time, and that like the inhabitants of the vehicles becoming more injured, the inhabitant of the player is the brain, and we will see more and more concussions over time as well.