Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 Dec 2013

Week 16 Injury Aftermath

compiled by Andrew Potter

Broncos Linebacker Von Miller -- Knee (IR)

Von Miller joins the growing list of all-pro caliber defenders on injured reserve with ACL tears, as the right knee injury sustained during Sunday's game ends his season. Entering Sunday's contest Miller had 14 Defeats in nine games, with five sacks and three forced fumbles. His loss will be a major blow to the struggling Broncos defense, which had averaged a solid -8.5% DVOA in games he played after averaging a very bad 15.4% DVOA in his absence.

One other Denver injury: center Steve Vallos was concussed during the game and enters the league protocol.

Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo -- Back

Tony Romo is set to have a MRI scan today on a reported back strain, having been in obvious pain at various times during Sunday's victory over Washington. Jason Garrett also made reference to a foot injury for the star quarterback. He is not expected to miss time with either ailment.

Packers Linebacker Clay Matthews -- Thumb

Early indications are that Clay Matthews re-injured his recently repaired thumb during Sunday's defeat. Scans today will reveal the severity of the injury, which if confirmed as a recurrence of his Bennett's fracture would end his season. Despite having missed a quarter of the season with the previous injury and having played with a cast in every game since, Matthews has 14 Defeats, leads the Packers in sacks, and would be a significant loss to a bad Packers defense (12.6% DVOA, 30th). Fellow linebacker Brad Jones also left with an unspecified ankle injury, leaving the Packers again thin at an injury-plagued position.

Panthers Receiver Steve Smith -- Knee

Panthers coach Ron Rivera has confirmed a PCL sprain for Steve Smith, ruling the veteran receiver out of Week 17's game but leaving open the possibility of a postseason return. Perennially Carolina's leading receiver when healthy over the past decade, Smith's 58 DYAR and -5.5% DVOA would be his worst marks for a full season since Cam Newton became the Panthers quarterback. Ted Ginn (65 DYAR, 2.4% DVOA) is expected to start in Smith's stead. Defensive tackle Colin Cole left the game with a calf injury; no news is yet public on the severity of that.

Rams Offensive Tackle Jake Long -- Knee (IR)

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has reportedly confirmed that Jake Long tore the ACL in his right knee on Sunday and will miss the team's final game of the season.

Saints Safety Kenny Vaccaro -- Ankle

A broken ankle ends a promising rookie season for Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro, who had totaled 77 tackles, one interception, one sack, one forced fumble, 15 Defeats and a Stop Rate of 40% in 14 games (all of which he started) entering Sunday. Roman Harper is listed as his backup on the Saints official website.

Steelers Receiver Emmanuel Sanders -- Knee

After leaving Sunday's game with a worrying knee injury, Emmanuel Sanders has been termed "questionable" for Pittsburgh's season finale against Cleveland by coach Mike Tomlin. The same designation was applied to linebacker Terence Garvin, who left Sunday's game with a knee sprain. Receiver Markus Wheaton (finger fracture) and linebacker Jason Worilds (abdomen) were included in Tomlin's post-game injury discussion, but neither is expected to miss Week 17.

Texans Cornerback Johnathan Joseph -- Unknown

The Houston Texans lost top cornerback Johnathan Joseph, running backs Dennis Johnson and Deji Karim, and tight end Brad Smelley during Sunday's loss to Denver. No update is yet public on the severity of any of those injuries.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 23 Dec 2013

21 comments, Last at 21 Jan 2014, 10:00pm by UGG Sheepskin Boots


by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 3:58pm

I'm shocked the Broncos defensive DVOA with Miller was that good, but I don't know how much is about Miller and how much is the corner play getting better than it was early in the season (and guys like Woodyard coming back after missing the 51-48 game the crushed Denver's Def. DVOA for a while).

Anyway, I guess now pretty much every AFC team has a decent case to use the injury excuse/reason.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 4:50pm

NE DB Devin McCourty had to leave the Ravens game with a concussion.

by In_Belichick_We... :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:18am

Is there info anywhere supporting the concussion info?
I thought it looked like a right forearm/wrist injury. He was staring at his wrist and holding his right arm to his chest. The replay appears to show his right arm getting tangled in the runner's legs during the tackle.

by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:24am

He staggered and fell to his knees when leaving the field, in a manner consistent with concussion.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 5:28pm

According to an ESPN report, Romo is now out for the season. If the Cowboys lose next week, I'm sure it will still be blamed on Romo instead of Kyle Orton.

by Coaldale Joe :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 5:34pm

and rightly so, if Romo were clutch he wouldn't have gotten hurt this week.

by Hurt Bones :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 6:42pm

Really two years in a row getting injured at the end of the year, the final minutes of the fourth quarter of the regular season so to speak. Other players fall down a flight of stairs in the off season, Romo has to get injured at the most important time of year. Sort of tragic luck.

by Bjorn Nittmo :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 5:57pm

Or much worse: Cowboys now go on a tear to the Super Bowl title, thus sealing Tony Romo's fate.

by In_Belichick_We... :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:22am

and the NFL is trying to decide if there is enough time to flex the chicago-GB game into the 8:30 slot...

by Wow (not verified) :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 8:15pm

If I could describe this season in one phrase "myriad of catastrophic injuries to key players". I've never seen anything like this before, and it hurts the product the NFL is trying to put out.

by RickD :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:43pm

Goodell still wants an 18-game season.

by Jeff88 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:45pm

I wonder if perhaps the "spread" style of play has increased the likelihood of injuries? Maybe less concussions, but more ACL tears?... hmm

by TimK :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 5:12am

How many seasons like this before the rosters get bigger?

There is surely an article for the next book on the level of injuries this season, it seems high, but be good to get an analytical view on whether that is just because of the number of key players, or if there have been more injuries than normal.

Of course, key players will get injured more than reserves as they will generally play more snaps (and those snaps will be at times when the games are in balance and everything is playing full speed as well), but this season seems to have been particularly brutal.

by tuluse :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 12:34pm

What would be the point of larger rosters? The players who would fill out the bottom of the roster are freely available right now anyways.

by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 2:03pm

Earlier this year the Vikings played a game where they had fewer than the permitted 46 players active due to injuries. It's an outlier for now, but given the new emphasis on concussions and the rate of injuries this year it may not remain uncommon for long. Having free agents available to fill out the bottom of the roster is fine, but the fewer inactive roster spots there are the more players will have to play hurt as teams can't afford to deactivate guys who can play.

by In_Belichick_We... :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 2:19pm

System familiarity.

by In_Belichick_We... :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:20am

Mandatory knee braces for all!
I mean, if thigh pads are mandadory....

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