Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 Dec 2013

Week 14 Injury Aftermath

compiled by Andrew Potter

Bengals Cornerback Terrence Newman -- Knee

Terrence Newman will miss 1-3 weeks with a MCL sprain, another blow to a Bengals defense which is already without top cornerback Leon Hall and star defensive tackle Geno Atkins.

Broncos Receiver Wes Welker -- Concussion

Wes Welker suffered his second concussion in a month against Tennessee. He did not miss a game after the first concussion, but is very likely to miss time after this one: the Broncos play on Thursday Night Football this week, and it is very unlikely that Welker will clear the league protocol by then. His absence would deprive Denver's league-leading passing game (62.2%) of its second-most targeted receiver (101 targets entering Week 14), but is not expected to be long-term.

Cardinals Defensive Back Tyrann Mathieu -- Knee (IR)

Scans have confirmed that rookie of the year candidate Tyrann Mathieu tore his ACL and LCL against the Rams, a devastating end to an excellent rookie season. Playing 90% of defensive snaps, Mathieu was a key component of a Cardinals defense which ranked fifth against the pass (-13.1%) and third overall (-17.2%) entering Week 14. Rashad Johnson is listed as his backup on the team website.

Jaguars Running Back Maurice Jones-Drew -- Hamstring

After injuring his hamstring against the Texans, Jones-Drew defiantly asserted that he will "definitely" play in Week 15. That tone has softened since: Jones-Drew's injury is likely to be a Grade 2 hamstring strain, which is very easy to aggravate and will usually require 2-4 weeks to heal. Jones-Drew has endured a difficult season, with only 616 rushing yards entering Week 14, five touchdowns, -47 DYAR, and -14.3% DVOA, but he remains the best back on a bad Jaguars offense. Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson would split rushing duties in Jones-Drew's absence.

Lions Running Back Reggie Bush -- Calf

Having injured his calf during a midweek practice, Reggie Bush aggravated the injury during pre-game warmups and was removed from the lineup in Philadelphia. Though unlikely to be a severe injury, calf strains are notorious for lingering unless properly rested and rehabilitated. Bush has had a good season as a receiving back -- 104 DYAR and 12.0% DVOA -- but has been mediocre as a runner and had recent trouble with fumbles. Assuming Bush misses time, Joique Bell -- more efficient as both a runner (11.2% DVOA) and a receiver (45.4% DVOA) -- will see an increased workload.

Panthers Running Back Jonathan Stewart -- Knee

Jonathan Stewart reportedly suffered a serious knee injury on Sunday night, a significant blow to a player who had only recently returned from an ankle injury. Early indications are a high grade MCL sprain or a MCL tear, which would potentially end another injury-blighted season for the Panthers back. A MRI scan today will reveal more. Mike Tolbert would once again step in behind DeAngelo Williams if Stewart misses more games.

Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski -- Knee (IR)

Already curtailed at the start by injury, Rob Gronkowski's season is now over. Multiple reports have stated that Gronkowski's ACL and MCL were torn as he was tackled by Browns safety T.J. Ward. The MRI scan scheduled for today is reportedly to check for potential further damage to his knee cartilage and meniscus. Gronkowski had been excellent since his return to action, ranking eighth in DYAR (104) and tenth in DVOA (17.6%) while revitalizing the Patriots passing game, despite previous injuries affecting his offseason preparation. Now, he'll have to go through that all again next year. Mike Florio reports that Gronkowski also suffered a concussion on the play.

Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson -- Foot

NFL rushing leader Adrian Peterson reportedly suffered a "mid-foot" injury consistent with a Lisfranc sprain, which if confirmed could potentially end his season. A MRI scan today will confirm the location and severity of the injury. Though Peterson has asserted that he does not expect to miss time, even mild mid-foot injuries are difficult to play through for running backs. Peterson has continued to be the key to the Vikings offense, ranking 13th by DYAR and 19th by DVOA despite the team having very little threat in the passing game. Toby Gerhart, quietly having a very efficient season himself (102 DYAR on only 21 attempts through Week 13, 121.5% DVOA), would be expected to shoulder the load in Peterson's absence.


In addition to the players mentioned above, Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud and Vikings tight end John Carlson suffered concussions during Sunday's games. Each will have to complete the league protocol before returning.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 09 Dec 2013

10 comments, Last at 21 Jan 2014, 2:45pm by cheap Detroit Red Wings Jerseys


by Leibniz :: Mon, 12/09/2013 - 4:06pm

Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright broke a bone in his foot. Recuperation time is reportedly six weeks.

by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 12/09/2013 - 4:10pm

Dangit, I plain forgot about Wright. Annoyed with myself now.

by Cro-Mags :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 1:24am

I'm not buying the rationale that taking out a guy like Gronk's knees is the inevitable recourse left since hitting him high is out. He's 6'6, TJ Ward is 5'8, he'd need a step ladder to hit him high. That option was never on the table.

Also a false dichotomy that the head or knees are the only two places to tackle.

by Crunch (not verified) :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 5:31pm

I'm also not sure I see the equivalency between an injury that could end a career (like an ACL), and an injury that has a very large chance of resulting in long term brain damage (like repetitive head injury).

Given the choice between having to wave goodbye to Gronk as a player and letting him go retire to be a millionaire looking for his second career, or seeing him in his late 40s disintegrate mentally to the point that he kills himself the first seems by far to be the preferable option.

by eddy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 7:55pm

I think you missed the point. there is an entire tj ward between gronks head and gronks knees. TJ could hit him anywhere else. There should be 0 discussion about how being afraid of hitting too high led to this. They are in no way related. they should both be banned.

by Cro-Mags :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 1:37am

Gronk sustained a concussion on the same hit, so in this case, going low resulted in the worst of both worlds.
But again, I think the point is that, it doesn't need to be an either/or head/knee question. Form tackling is a lost art I guess.

by Dr. Bill :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 9:10am

Crunch, there's no scientific basis for thinking concussions are a causal factor in suicide. There are theoretical reasons to think of concussions as a possible contributing factor as context, in that someone who has had multiple concussions may in position to have questions about their own meaning and worth: "What good am I without football," "What kind of person am I if I have these problems/limits," etc.

by Crunch (not verified) :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:11am

JAMA Psychiatry would seem to disagree with you. The evidence is not yet conclusive, but there's certainly a scientific basis to be concerned.


by Dr. Bill :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 8:21pm

I'm familiar with that literature--about half my work is in military health.

Crunch, you're confusing causation with correlation. As I explained above, something like TBI can be important context for how a person makes sense of their worth and meaning. That's fundamentally different than TBI, concussions, exposure to life threat, etc. being a causal factor.

by cheap Detroit Red Wings Jerseys (not verified) :: Tue, 01/21/2014 - 2:45pm

Hands straight down, Apple