Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Oct 2013

Week 7 Injury Aftermath

compiled by Andrew Potter

Bears Linebacker Lance Briggs -- Shoulder

Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler -- Groin

Lance Briggs will miss four to six weeks with a shoulder injury, the latest in a long line of injuries to an ailing Bears defense -- the team is currently on course to set a franchise single-season record for points allowed. Chicago is also on course to set a franchise record for points scored, but Jay Cutler -- top ten by both DVOA and DYAR before Sunday -- will also miss at least four weeks with a groin tear. Josh McCown replaced Cutler on Sunday and is expected to start in his place, with Jordan Palmer brought in to back up McCown.

Bengals Cornerback Leon Hall -- Ankle (IR)

The Bengals expect a MRI scan to confirm Leon Hall's reportedly torn Achilles, which would end his season. Cincinnati's secondary has been outstanding this season -- their defense ranks fourth against the pass by DVOA (-9.9%), as well as fourth against number one receivers (-28.6%) -- and Hall is a huge part of the reason for their excellence. Adam Jones is next in line according to the team website's depth chart.

Buccaneers Running Back Doug Martin -- Shoulder

Winless Tampa Bay was dealt another huge blow on Sunday with the loss of feature back Doug Martin to a torn labrum. Current news is that he'll try to rehabilitate the injury without surgery, which would rule him out for the year. Martin's season wasn't great by the numbers (-16.9% DVOA, 30th by DYAR), but as the Buccaneers equivalent of Maurice Jones-Drew he was being expected to carry almost the entire offense on his shoulders. Jeff Demps is also injured, so Mike James is expected to start in the meantime.

Colts Wide Receiver Reggie Wayne -- Knee (IR)

A MRI scan has confirmed that Reggie Wayne tore the ACL and meniscus in his right knee trying to twist for a low catch in the fourth quarter of last night's game. That injury certainly ends his season, though Chuck Pagano was defiant in asserting that Wayne will be back next season. Though no longer a truly elite wide receiver, Wayne is still a very good starter and has been Andrew Luck's most consistently reliable target: his 17.1% DVOA entering Sunday's game ranked 24th among wide receivers, and his 105 DYAR ranked 12th. More subjectively, it seems like he's spent roughly the past seven years leading the league in failed challenges from opposition coaches who couldn't believe he'd made the catches he did. The Colts also lost Samson Satele, Josh Gordy, and Greg Toler during Sunday's game; no word yet on the severity of those.

Packers Tight End Jermichael Finley -- Neck

Very little is confirmed regarding Jermichael Finley's frightening neck injury, but he spent last night in ICU -- apparently standard precaution for the type of injury -- and it is expected to be weeks before the Packers know whether he can return to the field. He was, however, reportedly walking around today and will not require surgery. Finley ranked 11th in DYAR and 13th in DVOA on 29 targets ahead of Sunday's game, and his role in the offense was expected to expand because of the injuries to the Packers receiving corps. Instead, Green Bay's fourth-ranked passing offense (38.6%) is almost down to the bare bones.

Rams Quarterback Sam Bradford -- Knee (IR)

The Rams have confirmed that Sam Bradford suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on Sunday and will miss the rest of the season. The St. Louis offense has struggled overall, but Bradford was playing his best season as a professional: 13th in DVOA and tenth in DYAR before Sunday's contest. Backup Kellen Clemens only threw three passes last year, but took over for three games when Bradford was injured in 2011, posting a -12.0% DVOA and -19 DYAR (both 28th).

Texans Linebacker Brian Cushing -- Knee (IR)

A torn LCL and broken leg ends Cushing's season -- the second year in a row in which his season has been ended by a low block from an offensive player. Houston's defense was already struggling even with Cushing in the lineup -- average by DVOA against both the run (-10.7%)and the pass (7.9%) -- and will have to cope with his absence much better than it did last season if the team is to have any hope of reaching the postseason. Darryl Sharpton is expected to take over the vacated starting spot. Arian Foster also left the game with a hamstring injury, and his status for next week is uncertain.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 21 Oct 2013

57 comments, Last at 24 Oct 2013, 5:32pm by Mr Shush


by Lebo :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 1:05pm

Geez, I hope this doesn't end Reggie Wayne's career. It's hard to see him being effective next year at age 40 coming off an ACL injury.

by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 1:08pm

He'll be 35 next year, and Pagano was defiant is saying he'll be back.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 1:13pm

It's all well and good for Pagano to say that Wayne will be back. But it's another thing for a 35 year old WR to come back from an ACL tear and still play at a high level. I hope he can, but in the back of my mind, I suspect this is at least the end of Wayne's time as a Pro-Bowl player.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 2:14pm

The worst case scenario is the Marv situation, where Harrison got hurt for the first time in years in '07 (after being #1 DYAR in 2006), came back as a shell of himself in 2008 and was out of the league for good in 2009.

Really hope that this game isn't known by Colts fans as the end of the Reggie Wayne experience.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 2:16pm

That murder investigation didn't help things.

by Bobman :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 2:20pm

@ REVENGE, Agreed. Wayne seemed rejuvenated by the changes in Coltsland the past 18 months, seemed to wear the mantle as senior team leader very well (he and Luck took turns with the media saying "HE's the leader; it's HIS team"). Like a handful of other guys who seemed to defy the laws of aging (Manning, Marvin Harrison...) he seemed like he could write his own end-of-career ticket so long as he stayed healthy... and with 189 consecutive games, that did not seem like an issue.

He still may, but like with Harrison, CAN he perform next year? That was the amazing thing about the age-defying Marvin Harrison, his skills seemed to erode damn fast. He was awesome at age 33 (or whatever) and seemed washed up the next year (after the knee injury). Even if Reggie is another player next year, if he can adapt to it, he'd still provide pretty good value as an 80 catch 9 YPC possession guy moving the sticks and leading the team as a graybeard.

by theslothook :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 6:01pm

That injury was just horrifying to watch. Unbearable and it never should have even happened. Can't fault luck for the injury, but if he hadn't short hopped that damn throw!

by Deelron :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 4:08pm

Didn't Jerry Rice tear his ACL at ~35 and come back to play at a high level? Not saying Wayne is Rice (everyone recovers different, if at all), but i wouldn't put it past him.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 4:46pm

Oh, I'd love it if Wayne did come back to play at that level. It's just not especially likely. But it may be that Wayne has a better than average chance, as his game has never really been about top-level speed or shiftiness.

by Lebo :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 5:52pm

Hopefully the Colts medical staff give Wayne whatever Adrian Peterson was on last year. That way he'll be better than ever!

by Theo :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 6:33pm

Yes, he had 6 good seasons after that.
His wheels came off at age 42.

by fb29 :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 5:20pm

Yeah I don't know if a 57 year old Reggie Wayne is going to be able to come back from that as anything but a WR for the Jets.

by BengalsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 1:18pm

I'd add Leon Hall's ACL injury that will sideline him for the year to the list.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 2:32pm

I thought that was an Achilles? Regardless, he's out.

by TADontAsk (not verified) :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 1:28pm

It doesn't sound good for Jay Cutler either.

by TomC :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 2:08pm

Yeah, it's an interesting comment on the Bears or the perception of the Bears that missing their Will backer for 4-6 weeks gets higher billing than losing their starting QB for a similar amount of time.

by akn :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 11:56pm

What was reported is that he will miss at least 4 weeks and that he won't require surgery. This likely means he had a grade 2 groin strain. The average recovery is between 4-6 weeks. Even then, healing depends on how long it takes swelling and bruising to come down (listen for updates talking about swelling/bleeding) and how much function he lost at the time of injury (he couldn't even make it back to the locker room under his own power). The team docs will keep re-evaluating him on the basis of pain, range of motion, and strength to chart his return (so listen for updates talking about those three things).

Because this was a leg injury, he won't be able to keep his conditioning during recovery. I expect another week or two to get back into shape and get his timing back.

Bottom line, I expect at least 5-6 weeks, if not 7-8.

by TomC :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 12:25am

Thanks, akn. I hope they are cautious with him, because unless some very strange things happen, they're not going to be competing for a playoff spot no matter what.

by jebmak :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 12:55am

In a way it might be good for Cutler, because then fans might shut up for a few weeks when they get a refresher that he is better than the crap that they have been spewing onto the field at QB for the last couple decades.

Well, maybe that is just good for me.

by ODBvernon :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 1:51pm

Ugh. As a Colts fan, I don't know what's worse: losing Reggie Wayne for this season from a surprisingly feisty Colts team in a potentially wide-open AFC or seeing one of my all-time favorite Colts come to the end of his prime so definitively.

Even if he does make it back - and it really depends on the severity of the tear I'd imagine - there is virtually no chance he is the Wayne we've been lucky to watch for the last 12 seasons. Ugh.

This week also feels like the first one of the season that was chock-full of injuries that will have a lasting effect on the shape of the playoffs: Wayne, Hall, Cutler are all integral pieces of their respective teams' schemes and success. And the Texans injuries probably close the door on any chance they had to rally for a wild card.

by Bobman :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 2:21pm

I'd trade that win for Wayne's ACL for sure.

by Lebo :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 4:48pm


by ODBvernon :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 6:50pm

Unequivocally - I was just grousing over which was worse from the Colts' in-game perspective: losing Wayne for this season or Wayne not being the same in future years? Doesn't really matter either way because they both suck.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 2:04pm

At one point this past offseason one of the Glazers must have run over some Gypsy woman's dog. At this point, a curse of some sort is the only possible explanation for how Tampa's season has gone.

by DavidL :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 3:23pm

Greg Schiano could be even worse at his job than it looks from outside.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 3:25pm

I think it's more likely that a gypsy woman's dog got caught in the middle when the Bucs were crashing the other team's victory formation.

by DEW (not verified) :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 4:30pm

Nah. Injuring it crashing the victory formation would imply that nonsense actually accomplished its goal (What? You mean it's not designed to cause a bunch of knee injuries on the last play in a petty schoolyard revenge for beating the Bucs?) Probably Greg "Puppy Kicker" Schiano just gave it the boot directly on his daily rounds.

by Jimmy Oz :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 6:28pm

A Gypsy curse also explains Manchester Utd's fall to 8th after winning the title last year.

Also, Dude, Gypsy is not the preferred nomenclature. Romani, please

by Theo :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 6:39pm

Even Manchester United throws strikes and gutters.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 6:55pm

Romani it is; I apologize to anyone I may have offended. Except Greg Schiano, who can eat a whole plate of . . . never mind.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 10/24/2013 - 5:32pm

Personally I think that one's more due to the fact that they are a thoroughly mediocre group of players (Van Persie and Rooney aside) and it was nothing short of miraculous what Ferguson got out of them in his last two years.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 2:09pm

The injury to Bradford is not very significant from a playoffs perspective. But I wonder what it will do to the Rams' plans for Bradford going forward. Last couple seasons, he was looking pretty meh. This year, he's been solid, and there's been talk of a contract extension. Gotta think that's on hold now.

by Mike B. In Va :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 2:33pm

Yeah, I would think so. Cutler's kinda in the same boat, depending on how bad his injury is.

by bucko (not verified) :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 3:24pm

I know it's stated every year in the popular media but THIS season sure strikes me as being unique in the number of name players not just hurt but out for the season.

I am certain someone will submit a link that debunks this claim.

But right now that is how I perceive 2013. And it stinks.

by Travis :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 4:16pm

The last similar year that comes to mind is 1999, when Terrell Davis, Vinny Testaverde, Jamal Anderson, Ryan Leaf, and Trent Green were all knocked out for the season by Week 4.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 3:30pm

I'm curious to see what happens with Finley's career. Not only has Finley talked about how his son doesn't want him playing football because of the injuries, but the Packers have a history of being extremely cautious with neck injuries (Nick Collins, Terrence Murphy, and all the way back to Sterling Sharpe and Tim Lewis).

by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 4:01pm

It took me a while today to realize that when people were typing "weeks to determine if he can return to the field", they didn't just mean this season. I haven't seen the hit, but it sounds frightening -- like he was lucky to avoid a Kevin Everett-level injury.

by bucko (not verified) :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 4:13pm

At first glance it did not look out of the ordinary. Not trying to downplay the injury. Just sharing that when you saw the event in real time and even slowed down you didn't see anything that caused you to recoil.

At least to me this wasn't a Tim Krumrie breaking his leg moment where the moment you saw it you went 'omg'. Just a guy going down and the defender putting his shoulder to the player. And helmets colliding in some manner.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 10:44am

There was no helmet collision.

Finley put his head down, and the defender put his shoulder into that helmet. That's all it takes.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 6:24pm

It didn't look that frightening. Neither did Nick Collins' injury. IIRC, Sharpe wasn't even an injury but something that showed up on a physical. Not all career-ending neck injuries look like Darryl Stingley or Mike Utley. Frankly, I'm amazed Manning came back.

by akn :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 12:08am

If Finley went to the ICU, they were not just worried about his limbs, they were worried about his vitals. That could mean any number of situations that I don't want to scare you with, but the quick return to walking (and only brief stay in the ICU) is a good sign.

I'm a little surprised about reports talking about taking weeks to figure out his prognosis--you really never need to wait that long. You can figure out structural issues with imaging, and the only reason you wait is due to swelling. That is usually a few days at most, not weeks. I think whoever reported that might have garbled the message.

Since I'm unaware of any other info, I can't make any other guesses.

by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 12:20am

The word on Twitter is a bruise to the spinal cord in his neck. I didn't know that was possible. Can you shed any light on that?

by akn :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 1:56am

That would indicated something called a spinal chord contusion. Unfortunately, finding a contusion on imaging doesn't really correlate very well on the patient's long term outlook. The mechanism of injury and timeline of functional recovery are better predictors. Was his head flexed (causing an axial load on the spine) or extended (resulting in hyperextension) when the impact occurred? Contusions are usually hyperextensions, but only careful analysis of the video will tell. Contusions also usually occur in people who had narrow spinal canals to begin with.

Return to play in that scenario depends on the patient's "functional reserve." That is, the amount of space around the chord where the contusion occurred. Imaging will tell you if the spinal fluid is flowing freely around the area. Many patients are advised to get a cervical fusion at at the level of the contusion, as that will help preserve the spinal canal width. If surgery is done, then obviously the player is done for the year. Some show additional abnormalities like a disk herniation--those players are encouraged to retire.

Either way, I would expect a more definitive answer fairly soon, not weeks down the road. A quick PubMed search turned up this as the closest relevant article I could find.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 10:07am

Bulk motion is usually less important than local movement for neck injuries. Physicians love talking about gross hyperflexion and hyperextension, but the neck can tolerate so much of that that it's rarely causal. You can flex forward so far your chin breaks your sternum, all without ever injuring your neck. What's usually going on is local motion, often shear, and not atypically caused by local buckling.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 3:31pm

(looks at byline)

Guess bighairyandy is at last unmasked! :)

by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 4:15pm

I hadn't realised that was in question. Should I worry? :)

by Scott C :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 4:38pm

Two Charger Left Tackles went down (one was already on IR), and it is not mentioned?

This will probably lead to DJ Fluker switching to LT from RT, and Clary switching from RG to RT.

Its OK, Coach D should probably be the coach of the year with how he has managed the Charger's O-line so far to be productive in the running game and passing with what was universally seen as a line lacking talent before half of them got injured and most of the backups got injured.

by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 4:45pm

King Dunlap was concussed, and concussions haven't usually resulted in players missing games -- even when they do, it's seldom clear that they will until much later in the week. That's why it wasn't mentioned, though as it's his second concussion in a month it's obviously a concern.

by Scott C :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 5:06pm

The first concussion caused him to be out for three weeks. The second in a short time, given the current NFL climate on head injury, means he could see significant time off. Being out the rest of the season is a significant possibility.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 7:06pm

Well, Mr. Big Bang Clock got suspended for 2 games. Should have been more.

by Scott C :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 8:45pm

Can he appeal? or is he out the next two no matter what?

by akn :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 11:50pm

Last year, the average time missed from concussion was 16 days. They miss games.

by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 4:41pm

The AFC West is pretty much ground zero for line injuries at this point.

by georgebowles (not verified) :: Mon, 10/21/2013 - 5:25pm

the Bears losing both Cutler and Briggs..... qarhoahicl;vnijaiqorhfaorhelgholaghfllagfaafd

by TomC :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 12:24am

Could be worse, they could have lost....


nope, this is as bad as it could be.

by SFC B :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 3:24am

Arian Foster also left the game with a hamstring injury, and his status for next week is uncertain.I think you mean next game. The Texans are on a bye this week.

by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 10:19am

I could make up some convoluted scenario by which I still meant next week, but you're right, I missed that they're on a bye. Ben Tate apparently has four fractured ribs too, so I doubt Foster will miss time unless the hamstring problem is very limiting.